Getting your kids the vitamins they need can be difficult. Their little bodies are developing and growing every day and what you feed them is crucial. In the same way that you plan the details of your dream home, you are molding your little one’s body and brain for their future health. Here are some of my favorite food swaps for not only them, but for you as well! These little swaps can add up to make a big difference in their health AND happiness and trust me when I say, no one likes an unhappy toddler!
White Table Salt for Sea Salt
If you love salt, you’ll love this one. Swapping white table salt for Pink Himalayan Sea Salt will not only make adding salt to your food okay, it is encouraged! While white table salt will increase the chance of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and more, pink sea salt actually helps prevent those very same conditions! Although children may not be at risk for those things now, what they consume is still setting the foundation for their future minds and bodies. All of the healthy minerals from white table salt are depleted in the process. In addition, bleach is added for the white look and aluminum as a non-caking agent. I can’t imagine that those tiny little bodies were meant to consume bleach and aluminum. Yikes.
Table salt contributes to:
- High Blood Pressure
- Salt Addiction
- Weight gain and more
Sounds like something you totally want for your kid, right? Not. Now swap that for Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and you’ll get this:
- Natural digestion aide
- Magnesium- nature’s “chill pill” (magnesium deficiency leads to insomnia, depression, anxiety, headaches, muscle cramps and spasms, fibromyalgia and over 300 other functions in your body!)
- Helps with asthma by clearing the excessive phlegm in your lungs
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Calcium rich (which means its great for our little one’s bones!)
- Improves circulation
- Increases hydration
- Reduces signs of aging
Try buying it in bulk to save money and using any old salt grinder. Start swapping this in recipes and putting it on the table at dinner time. “Can you pass the Pink Sea Salt, please?”
French Fries for Broccoli
I would be lying if I said I didn’t love french fries, but this is one bad habit that can add up quickly. While this swap isn’t the easiest in the world we live in, it is a strict rule when my family is dining out. We all know french fries are bad, but just how just bad are they? Aside from the obvious grease trap, white potatoes are a simple carbohydrate. What this means is that your body quickly turns them into sugar and forces you to use them as energy immediately or stores them as fat.
So why broccoli? Did you know that 1 cup of broccoli has more Vitamin C than an orange? Buh-bye Flu Season! It also has Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, Magnesium (remember, my favorite!), Potassium, Iron and Zinc. Most importantly, it is full of fiber (you know, that thing your child needs to help them go #2 instead of taking a laxative). Fiber helps regulate your body and keeps you fuller longer, versus that big spike and crash in energy that fries have. Food should fuel you, not make you feel tired and we all know a tired kid can mean a crabby one!
Try using Mrs.Dash seasoning on the vegetables to give them a little more flavor or mixing them in with the main dish! Also figure out what way your family likes them. There is a noticeable difference between steamed, boiled, fresh and frozen.
Coconut Oil for Butter
I will admit that I was the biggest skeptic of this one at first, but once I switched, I never looked back. No one in my family could ever tell the difference and as much as I tried to find an aftertaste or some sort of evidence, I couldn’t and neither could they. When you compare Organic Grass Fed Butter to Coconut Oil, the fat and calories are very comparable, so why does it matter? Unlike butter, coconut oil is a good fat for many reasons. To make this one easy, I am going to list all of the things that Coconut Oil does for your body that butter does NOT.
- Regulates blood sugar
- Strengthens teeth and bones
- Boosts immune system
- Reduces belly fat and aides in weight loss
- Fights Alzheimers disease, heart disease and high blood pressure
- Quickly metabolized by your liver, which increases your metabolism
It’s pretty cool that a fat can do that, huh? Start by using it to grease your frying pan when you make eggs and then slowly begin to swap it out for anything you would use butter for and see if anyone in your family notices. Use it on toast, on top of your vegetables, in your child’s pasta or wherever else you would have used butter. It’ll be your best kept secret since your latest reality TV show obsession.
Spaghetti for Spaghetti Squash
This is one of my personal FAVORITES. Coming up with a yummy dinner that is good for your diet and that your family will still love is hard. Chicken Alfredo, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Lasagna, literally every good dish begins with pasta. So how do you still satisfy those cravings and stick to a diet at the same time? Spaghetti Squash! Insert heart eye emoji here.
For starters, you can save over 125 calories per cup! You also get Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Potassium. The best part? 1 cup gives you a full serving of vegetables and if your family is anything like mine, that is the hardest food group to get them to eat!
I love layering them in a casserole dish just like a normal lasagna or making Basil Pesto bowls ! These are definitely a kid approved swap. Give them a fork and watch them twirl those spaghetti squash noodles away, baby!
Tortilla Shell/Bread for Lettuce Wraps
This one may sound boring, but it’s pretty fun once you get used to it. Think of the lettuce wraps from P.F. Changs. Amazing right? When you were eating them, I’m sure you weren’t thinking, man, I really wish I had a bun instead of rabbit food. So stop thinking that now! It gives it a whole new crunchy taste.
Chances are the bread you are using isn’t healthy unless it is truly 100% Whole Grain and that goes back to the simple carbohydrate effect. Try saving on calories and carbs with this superfood instead. Raw Romaine lettuce has Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Manganese, Iron, Folate, Fiber, Vitamins B1, B2 and B6, Omega 3s, plus 10 other vitamins. Now go find out the amount of carbs on your hamburger bun. I’ll wait.
I like to wrap my burgers, taco meat, buffalo chicken and more. Place a plate full of pre-cut leaves on the table and let everyone make their own creations. Leave the forks in the drawer and once a week have a “Pirate Night” where everyone eats with their hands. The kids will love this one and memories will be made.