I met my step-daughter when she had just turned three. She is a funny, smart, athletic girl and a blessing in my life. However, she is a picky eater, and it drives me crazy sometimes. I can even make the same dish that she liked last week, and this week she doesn’t like it anymore. It is a constant power struggle.
My husband and I are on the slow and steady journey of teaching her about cooking, nutrition, and finding healthy foods that she enjoys. We did not make drastic changes overnight, and so, sometimes I feel like a hypocrite with the things I serve her. If I look at the progress we have made though in the last two years and how we do not have boxed mac and cheese or frozen aisle chicken nuggets in our house anymore, I would say we have made good progress. Getting her to Try new foods and eat a variety of dishes has been a major win even if they weren’t always the healthiest options all the time. Plus, we rarely go out to eat, and that is something to be proud of as well. I think families should be proud of these small steps as they move to a cleaner way of eating. Two years ago, having her try new recipes like cheddar chicken or crescent roll-ups was a big win, and now, we don’t buy many of those ingredients anymore. But, we had to make those small steps I think to get her taste buds slowly adapting to new things. Now, she loves salmon burgers and cashew coconut chicken.
Our most recent battle with her is breakfast. I am a big advocate for breakfasts that fuel the body and brain, and to me, those are breakfasts that contain protein, fat, and potentially healthy carbohydrates depending on a person’s blood sugar stability and activity for the day. I mean the brain is made up of a large percentage of fat, and we go to work or school to use our brains to focus, learn, and create.
To her, breakfast is the best excuse to have refined carbohydrates and sugar like pancakes, waffles, french toast, cinnamon rolls, and syrups. She is currently in a phase of “not liking” nut butters and eggs so I am left with fewer options than I would like. So, this morning I experimented with a recipe I found for breakfast banana splits. I used an organic whole milk yogurt for a good source of protein, fat, and calcium, and topped it with a Maple Pancake Paleonola for another great source of protein and fat. The fruit provides the healthy source of sweet for her taste buds along with vitamins and minerals.
She loved it! Plus, everyone loves when food can be fun, especially kids! She got such a kick out of pretending she was eating ice cream breakfast, and why not?!?! Healthy, nutritious food should be indulgent too.
Here is what I did to put this together for 4 people:
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup Maple Pancake Paleonola
- 4 bananas
- 2.5 cups plain whole milk yogurt
- 2 TBSP honey (preferably raw)
- Cut strawberries into small cubes. I cut about a cup, but it really depends how much you want in your yogurt.
- Add 2.5 cups of yogurt to a bowl with the strawberries.
- Add two tablespoons of honey to the bowl.
- Stir together with a spoon or blend up in a mixer or blender if you want the strawberry flavor more incorporated.
- Put the yogurt mixer in the freezer to firm up but not harden.
- Scoop the yogurt with an ice cream scoop onto a parchment lined tray and stick in the freezer to harden. I did this these first 6 steps the night before.
- In the morning, cut the bananas down the middle lengthwise.
- Take the yogurt out of the freezer. To soften the yogurt quickly, I put the yogurt scoops in the microwave for 15-30 second intervals until I felt that they were softened but staying together.
- Place the yogurt on the banana.
- Top each with blackberries (~2 TBSP), raspberries (~2 TBSP), and a bunch of the grain-free granola (~1/4 cup each).
This breakfast battle is not over yet though. I will be experimenting with some healthy versions of pancakes and waffles very soon.