The other week I was venting to my friend my frustration over the fact that little Vijay often seems to prefer snack time to mealtime. He is a very hearty eater, so there are no worries that he is not getting enough (have you seen those adorable chubby thighs?!)…but I can’t help worry about the quality of the food he is getting. Meals are great- fruit, veggies, protein and grains- he eats them all. But I expressed my dismay at his great love of Cheerios, and graham crackers- not terrible food mind you, but pretty nutritionally void. This is where my wise friend stopped me and asked, “Why can’t snacks be whole, healthy foods, too?”
Talk about a light bulb moment! Since that conversation, I have been working hard to rethink my approach to snacks. When Vijay wants for a snack, I try and think of a healthy, whole food alternative to crackers and cereal. I will be sharing some of my ideas and recipes with you in the coming weeks and months. I do hope you will enjoy them…and perhaps this will encourage you to rethink snack time, too!
First up- juice- real, live juice! I recently purchased a juicer, and since many times, hunger is mistaken for thirst, I offer Vijay a cup of juice before we have a snack. I try to keep my recipes seasonal- and with plenty of greens, beets and apples available at the farmers market right now, these juices are perfect. When offering veggie/fruit juice to kids, it helps to offset the veggie taste with a hearty dose of sweeter fruits. His (and my!) favorite recipes:
Vijay’s Juicy Juice:
2 kale leaves
3 celery stalks
1 small cucumber
1 large apple
Thoroughly wash all ingredients, and roughly chop to fit through the juicer. Leave the peels and stalks on. It is important to buy organic fruits and vegetables when juicing, but if you choose not to, you may consider peeling (especially cucumbers, which are coated with a yucky wax). Send your produce through the juicer, pour into your most special cup and enjoy! Green juice is best when you drink it within minutes of juicing- so plunge right in!
Immune Booster Super-juice
1 large beet
1-2 peeled oranges
Give the beet a good scrub before cubing and sending through the juicer. Make sure to peel your oranges before juicing. Give this juice a stir, as it tends to settle quickly, and drink away!