January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Sex trafficking is one of the worst things that happens in our world today. And, I’m going to be honest, it’s very difficult to write about. But it’s so important that we are aware of what’s happening in our world so that we can prevent it and protect each other and our children.
What is sex trafficking?
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act – which was passed in 2000 in the U.S. and officially made trafficking illegal – defines sex trafficking as:
The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
22 U.S.C. § 7102
So basically what this means is victims of sex trafficking are those who are forced to have sex (or any kind of sexual act) in exchange for money or something of value. The ‘something of value’ can be food, shelter, or other necessities. If the victim is under the age of 18, there does not need to be force, fraud or coercion for it to be considered sex trafficking.
The definition here clarifies something that’s very important: there is no such thing as a ‘child prostitute.’ Children who are used for sexual acts are victims 100% of the time. It doesn’t matter how they ended up there, children should never be used by adults for sex.
How prevalent is human trafficking?
Trafficking can feel like it’s not that common – especially if you don’t know of anyone who has been trafficked or you don’t see evidence of it in your day to day life. But human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, affecting nearly 25 million people across the globe. Approximately 4.8 million of those people are involved in sex trafficking. Of course, there isn’t a reliable way we can know the true number of victims.
It can be easy to assume that sex trafficking happens to other people in other countries. However, it is a huge problem right here in the United States – to U.S. citizens. According to a study of the U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking task force cases, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims in the United States were U.S. citizens.
What’s worse is that more than 1 in 5 trafficking victims are children.
Source: International Labour Office. (2017). Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage. Geneva: International Labour Organization. Retrieved from https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575479.pdf
Pornography and the sex trafficking industry are undeniably linked. For example, if a child (anyone under the age of 18) is being used in pornographic material, this is defined as sex trafficking. And one of the most common searches related to porn include the terms ‘youth’ or ‘teen.’ If you are watching pornography that involves a person under the age of 18, you are watching a victim of sex trafficking and thereby contributing to the demand for sex trafficking.
Even if you’re watching porn with only adults involved, there is no way to know if that person has been coerced (and therefore is a victim of sex trafficking). In one survey of underage sex trafficking victims, 63% said they were advertised or sold online (source).
Additionally, sex traffickers often use pornography to groom and desensitize their victims.
If you want help with ending an addiction to pornography, or if you want to protect those in your family from accessing pornography, check out Covenant Eyes. Sign up with promo code MAYHEM30 to receive 30 days FREE.
Fall is my favorite season! I love the crisp coolness and the anticipation of the holiday season. It’s the best time for outdoor activities. If you’re looking for some fun fall activities to do with your spouse or even for a special activity with your kiddos, here are some of my favorite fall ideas:
If you’re considering trying a detox & elimination diet, I highly recommend it! I’ll tell you up front it won’t be easy and is best to do under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed medical provider with any questions you may have before undertaking a new health care regimen. Please do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
What is a detox elimination diet?
Detoxify simply means to remove toxic substances. Our body does this naturally – no juicing required! 😆
When a substance enters our body, our digestive system filters out toxins using the liver and kidneys. You can read more about this process here: Information on Detoxification
When we partake in a detox diet, we’re simply supporting our body’s naturally occurring detoxification process by lessening the amount of toxins we consume. Additionally, we’re adding in foods that help our bodies optimize the naturally occurring detoxification process.
An elimination diet is the process of removing common allergenic foods for a period of time and then adding them back in one at a time so you can rule out certain food sensitivities.
For example, to test if you’re sensitive to dairy, you can eliminate dairy for 10 days and then add it back into your diet to see how your body responds. An elimination diet is one of the most effective ways to test yourself for food sensitivities because you’re eliminating most allergenic foods (except fruits and vegetables) and testing them one at a time.
A detox elimination diet is the combination of the two at the same time – so you’re boosting your detox powers AND testing for food sensitivities all together!
Why should I do a detox elimination diet?
I did my detox elimination diet for many reasons. I suspected I had several food sensitivities but I wasn’t sure which foods were irritating me. The elimination diet allowed me to narrow that down.
I like to think of this as a “reset” time. A cleanse, but without all that annoying juicing. This can help give our bodies an extra boost, to re-energize us and get us focused on what we should be filling our bodies with.
I found that when I did my detox elimination diet, the foods I ate energized me more than the normally do. Perhaps because there wasn’t a bunch of toxins weighing it down or because I wasn’t consuming foods I was sensitive to!
What should I eat on a detox elimination diet?
The short answer: lots of fruits and vegetables.
You should not consume foods that you KNOW you are allergic or sensitive to, or foods that you suspect you’re sensitive to. The whole point is to give your system a break from those foods, and then test them to confirm or rule out sensitivities.
There are lots of different ways to go about a detox or elimination diet, but I’ll share with you what I did:
During my detox elimination diet, I removed all meats, refined sugars, processed foods, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and known/suspected allergies or food sensitivities.
Throughout the 10-day detox, I removed one at a time – gluten, all grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes – until I was only consuming fruits and vegetables for a few days. Then, I tested each potential allergenic food group one at a time – first legumes, then nuts and seeds, then grains, gluten, and so on. I did not mix any of the allergenic foods with each other until I had completely reintroduced all of the foods.
For example, if I wanted to test out if I was sensitive to legumes AND gluten, I wouldn’t eat them both on the same day. I would eat legumes (and not gluten) for one to two days, and see how my body responded. Then, after I had finished that test, I would stop eating legumes and then reintroduce gluten for one or two days to see how my body responded. That way it’s clear which food groups my body is having sensitivities to.
If you’re concerned about how to keep your kids healthy during this holiday season, read this guest post by Leslie, the mom behind the keyboard at Super Mom Picks! Leslie loves to help moms in this amazing, yet scary journey of raising a successful family.
The holidays are a time of fun, love, and celebration, but they may also bring sniffles, sneezes, and stomachaches. It might be challenging to stay healthy during this season of cold weather, flu viruses, and sweet snacks. Luckily, you can do a few easy things this Holiday period to increase your chances of keeping your children (and yourself!) healthy. Engaging in healthy habits with your child over the holidays can help to ensure that your child’s health is in tip-top shape throughout the year.
Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals. The information in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice from a licensed medical professional. If you or your child have a medical problem, you should consult your physician or your child’s physician.
Free them from Gadgets
We frequently hear requests for gadgets from our children (ranging in age from babies to teenagers), mainly when we’re engaged in other activities. Our instinct is to either say a reluctant ‘YES’ to get them off our backs or a vehement ‘NO’ to show who’s boss. In any case, you, the parents, are the losers! Establish clear rules for the use of electronics with the children. Set a limit of 30 minutes to an hour in front of the television during the holidays. Make sure your kids understand the need for moderation.
The holiday season can be an excellent time to spend with your children and perhaps even let your inner child loose. It’s a good idea to plan ahead of time for the holidays and develop a list of activities to keep the kids occupied.
Set aside time each day to walk, ride bikes, play backyard tag, jump rope, play soccer, dance, or swim as a family. It all adds up to the 60 minutes of activity that children require every day, regardless of the season.
Get Enough Sleep
We all know how important sleep is, but it’s easy during the holidays to let that slide. According to studies, school-aged children (6 to 12 years old) need 9 to 12 hours per night. However, many children get only 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and in some cases, even less.
When we’re not getting enough sleep, we become irritable and, over time, sick. It’s especially crucial for kids because the effects of sleep deprivation can last a lifetime.
For more science behind this, read this and and this.
So minimize those late-night sleepovers and stick to a strict bedtime schedule. To make things easier, consider the following:
Maintain a consistent dinnertime schedule
Ensure that your kids get plenty of fresh air and activity throughout the day
Before going to bed, turn off all screens 1 hour before bedtime
Everyone enjoys the holidays because of the festive lights, time spent with family, and, of course, the delicious holiday feasts. When presented with tempting temptations, holidays such as Halloween and Christmas are an excellent time to teach children to make healthy choices. Given that Halloween is rapidly approaching, we must prepare nutritious Halloween treats for our children. Bring a healthy side dish to the dinner table to ensure that there are healthy foods available. Getting children involved in preparing a recipe is a great approach to encourage them to eat a healthy diet and nutritious foods.
Your child’s stomach is relatively small. They most likely consume less food at meals than you do. Smart snacks can help your child consume adequate calories and fluids throughout the day. Adults find it difficult to avoid favorite holiday dishes at classroom parties, visiting relatives, and home customs. It’s even more challenging for children!
You can prepare some healthier versions like:
carrots or peppers with hummus
no sugar added yogurt topped with fresh fruit
whole grain crackers with goat cheese
peanut butter and apples or bananas
homemade smoothies with fresh greens and fruit
When you keep these foods on hand, it’s much easier to give healthier snacks when you’re in a rush rather than reaching for that plate of cookies on the counter.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A well-balanced breakfast of protein and complex carbohydrates is beneficial to brain function and maintains a consistent energy level throughout the day.
Children who eat breakfast daily are more likely to get essential nutrients and consume less fat and cholesterol. Similarly, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D levels are 20 percent to 60 percent higher in kids who eat breakfast daily than those who don’t.
Focus on Food
Make the most of your children’s extra free time by involving them in preparing their meals. Plant a garden together or go to a farmers market to choose from all the fresh produce in season. Allow them to select tomatoes, melons, or peppers before preparing dinner together. According to studies, children who learn to grow and prepare their meals to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Do you know that children should see a doctor at least once a year?
It is critical for children’s providers to keep track of their overall health as they get older. Annual wellness checks are essential for keeping your children healthy since they keep track of their vaccines, ensure healthy teeth, and monitor their physical development. It’s a chance to ask the doctor any issues that have arisen throughout the year and discuss health and school or learning concerns. It’s an opportunity for you as a parent to work with your doctor to reinforce your child’s good lifestyle choices. And if you have been busy the whole year, the holiday season is a good time to do so.
There’s a lot to love about the holidays. Naturally, the same factors that make the holidays so joyful can also hurt your children’s health. But, the holiday season does not have to be a vacation from good health! I hope these tips will inspire and help you to make healthy choices this holiday season.
Remember: It is critical to establish healthy behaviors at a young age. Most kids look up to their parents, so it’s best to lead by example. Maintaining a good attitude and being supportive can help kids gain confidence and build healthy habits for the rest of their lives.
If you’re curious about starting a blog or wonder what it will take to have a successful blog, here are some of the tools and resources I have used in my blogging journey. For my Christian motherhood blog, I’ve had to learn the hard way by making mistakes, doing TONS of ultimately pointless research and lots of trial and error. I’m hoping that this post with all of the blogging resources I love can help you with your Christian blog so that you won’t have to go through the same mistakes that I made!
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links on this page.
Udemy Blogging Masterclass Course
When I first had the idea to start a blog, I had no idea where to start. My husband did some research and purchased this course for me as a birthday present and it was invaluable. It’s easy to follow and saved me SO MUCH TIME in trying to figure out the logistics of starting a blog from web hosting, navigating WordPress, creating content that people actually want, building an email list, etc.
This is the basics, for beginners, starting from scratch. So, if that’s you, I highly recommend this course:
I use Canva Pro for all my graphics and designs. They have thousands of excellent templates for every scenario. I use them the most for photos, Pinterest Pins, and Instagram posts. But I’ve also used them for creating my Simple 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan ebook as well as invitations or really any kind of graphics I need for ANYTHING.
A few great aspects of the upgraded PRO version:
You have access to A LOT of photos you can use for your designs and blog posts (instead of having to pay for a separate photo library).
You have a ‘brand kit’ that keeps all of your brand’s fonts, colors, logos, etc. just a click away (rather than having to memorize the hex number of all of your brand colors!)
MAGIC RESIZE – this is worth every cent. You design a Pinterest Pin and with one click it is also an Instagram post, Facebook post, blog banner, or any other size you want. Like magic. It’s incredible and a HUGE time saver.
Publish social media content from Canva. Once you’ve designed your pin or instagram post, you can publish it or even schedule it to be published.
Here is my referral link, which I would really appreciate if you used because it gives me a small bonus at no extra cost to you! So, thank you in advance!! Click here for Canva Pro.
Tailwind for Pinterest & Instagram (& Facebook!)
Tailwind is such an incredible tool and resource. You can schedule in advance all of your Pinterest pins, Instagram posts and even cross-post to Facebook. They’ve even added a design element to Tailwind where you enter in the information for your pin and they create lots of different pin options for you to choose from.
The Tailwind Communities are also invaluable, and how I grew to the point where I am today.
I also really love all of the education the Tailwind staff does – they offer so many classes, tools and resources for people to grow in their craft.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to blog without Tailwind. I tried to go without Tailwind for one month and my stats plummeted. It’s just an easy set it and forget it solution for busy moms who want to be present with their kids and not be addicted to social media!
I usually set aside some time at the beginning of each month to plan out all of my social media content and then it’s done for the entire month! I don’t even have to think about it.
And, if you have the time/energy/content, you can plan for even longer than a month.
I use ConvertKit for keeping up my email list as well as my sales pages, pop ups and other landing pages. You can see examples of really simple ones I’ve created here and here.
When I first started blogging, I used MailChimp and after several very frustrating sessions where I tried to figure out how to create landing pages and pop ups with them, I gave up and switched the ConvertKit. I can’t tell you what a time saver this has been!
It is SO MUCH EASIER to use ConvertKit than any other email subscription service I’ve worked with.
Occasionally I’ve had to contact their customer support about my pop ups not functioning the way I want them to, and they have always been able to fix them right away.
Here is my personalized referral link for ConvertKit, which gives me a little bonus at no cost to you: ConvertKit is awesome.
Start a Mom Blog
This is one of my favorite resources on this whole list. I LOVE SUZI!!! My husband and I joke that Suzi is my blogging crush. She’s awesome. I also love that she works with her husband and they seem to have a really great partnership.
I wish I would’ve known about Start a Mom Blog from the very beginning of my blogging journey, it would’ve saved me a lot of time and energy. However, I am grateful that I know about them now because they’ve helped me grow so much!
I did a 90-day challenge with Suzi to grow my email list. My list went from 30 subscribers (AKA my family and a handful of friends) to 1,100 subscribers and growing every single day.
I’ve done her course on printables as well as her course on course creation. She is incredibly practical, showing step-by-step details without bogging you down with too much information. I highly recommend all of her products!
This Facebook group by Twins Mommy creator Elna Cain has been invaluable. It is a very active group with a wide range of skills and abilities. I’ve asked this group SO many questions about blogging and have gotten immediate, helpful answers. Elna also does regular Facebook lives on particular blogging topics.
This is another Christian blogging resource that I LOVE. I’ve taken their free SEO course and it was simple yet effective. I love finding resources that are specific to Christian blogging and this is a fantastic resource if you are trying to use your blogging platform to spread the message of Christ.
This is another Facebook group that has been ultra supportive and helpful on my blogging journey. This is specifically for Christian women bloggers and it’s where I’ve found a wonderful community of like-minded women! You can join this group and ask questions/advice and get lots of support.
This has been an invaluable resource for me as I’ve done more intensive Bible research for my blog. When you look up a verse, it offers parallel versions of that verse, related scriptures, commentary, the breakdown of the original language and more. If you want your blog to be Bible-based, this is an excellent tool.
I also recommend using Bible Gateway, Blue Letter Bible, and YouVersion – which will often have beautiful graphics of popular verses that you can use. Just make sure you tag or link them if you use their graphics!
I use this plugin on my WordPress site to convert Bible verse references so that people can hover over the verse reference and see the actual scripture. This is such a helpful feature!
Support from Family & Friends
I am so incredibly blessed to have an ultra supportive husband and family! They have encouraged my dreams and been through all of the highs and lows of my writing career alongside of me. If you also have a supportive family, please be intentional about sharing your hopes and dreams with them and let them dream with you! And praise God for that.
If you don’t feel like your family is understanding or supportive of your dreams, I encourage you to sit down and talk with them. Explain to them your vision, goals, and how you plan to accomplish them. Tell them what their support would mean to you, and then tell them specifically HOW they can support you. Perhaps you need a beta reader for some of your posts, or would love it if they re-shared your links on social media. Or maybe you just need someone to cheer you on and give you high-fives when you have a great day! Whatever you need from your family, make sure to communicate clearly and intentionally.
No matter what your support from your family is like, I hope you will hear me when I tell you that God is with you and He believes in you. He created you to be exactly the way that you are and to utilize your unique strengths and talents to shine a light to those around!
Don’t cover up your light, my friend. Let it shine bright for the whole world to see.
I hope these resources are helpful to you as you start your journey of blogging!
I see you trying to wrestle your kids into their car seats while they writhe and scream and make you want to give up trying to go anywhere with them ever again.
I see you trying to put together a healthy meal for your kids to throw on the floor eat – only to pour yourself a bowl of cereal in exhaustion.
I feel your frustration as your child throws himself on the floor yet again while you try to get him dressed so that you can be late yet again.
I see you as you try to read your Bible during nap time, only to fall asleep in the pages of Leviticus once more.
I see you showing up with no makeup, oatmeal in your hair, spit up on your shirt, with the contents of your diaper bag strewn across your car as you search for THE ONLY TOY THAT MATTERS to your child. The one you left at home.
I see you as you scroll through Instagram looking at moms who have tighter bodies, better schedules, cleaner homes, happier kids, all while they make more money through their side hustles and plan elaborate educational activities for their kids.
You wonder if you’ll ever NOT feel tired again, if your body will ever look the same, if your family will ever appreciate your work, if you’ll ever make the money you want to make or accomplish any goals ever again.
You wonder if you’ll ever have it all together.
I’m with you, and I am you.
I am the hot mess mom who never has it all together – the one who makes the other moms feel like THEY have it more together than they originally thought.
I work and plan and hope and pray to one day have it all together. I print schedules, make chore charts, meal plan, set alarms, scour Pinterest, read all the books and all the articles and pray all the prayers.
And I just know that this is the week I will finally have it all together. This is the day.
And here’s the honest truth: I won’t.
Perfection is a lie perpetuated by our own guilty consciences, social media, and Satan.
The moment we feel like we have arrived and are finally perfect – that’s the moment when we disown the work of Jesus to save us from our imperfections.
Here is the good news, my hot mess friend: you don’t have to be perfect, because God already is.
And here’s some more good news: God meets us where we are in our struggle to be more like Him.
This idea that God gently leads those who have young is almost startling to me. The powerful, awesome God who created the stars in the sky and conjured up such terrors as crocodiles, Great White Sharks and super volcanoes – this same God is also…gentle?
So I dug a little deeper into this verse. What does it mean for God to gently lead me?
The Hebrew term used for ‘He gently leads’ means ‘to lead or guide to a watering place, bring to a place of rest, refresh.’ This is the same terminology used in such verses as Exodus 15:13, Psalm 23:2, Psalm 31:3, Isaiah 49:10, 2 Chronicles 28:15, and 2 Chronicles 32:22.
I don’t know about you, but I adore the idea of rest and refreshment. I picture God leading me to a quiet place by the water where I can rest on a blanket in the shade. I can eat (without someone stealing my food or complaining about theirs), I can close my eyes and sleep (without listening to a monitor for a crying baby), I can read a book leisurely without interruption, and I can breathe.
This is my vision. What’s yours? Where is God leading you for your rest?
So if you’re feeling like a hot mess mom today, remember two things:
1. You are not alone.
2. God is gently leading you toward rest.
We can follow David’s example and pray for God to lead and guide us:
And lastly, let’s have faith and trust that God WILL lead us to a place of rest. In His timing, which is perfect.
In the meantime, know that you are not alone, hot mess mom – God is with you. And so am I!
If you’re looking for contemporary Christian songs that are upbeat, this is the spot for you. These high-energy praise and worship songs are perfect for working out, running, dancing, or just getting you in a better mood!
Recently I realized that most of the Christian worship music I listen to is slower and more soulful. This is perfect for prayer times or moments of reflection and communion with God. But sometimes I want to have fun, upbeat music in the house for myself and the kids to sing and dance to!
So that’s why I made this Spotify playlist of upbeat, fast-paced praise & worship songs that could be used for dance parties at home, working out, going for a run, or just to have an upbeat mood in the house.
I’m frequently adding to the list on Spotify, but I’ll highlight a few of my favorites here:
Echo (In Jesus’ Name) by People & Songs
There are so many awesome lines in this song, but I particularly love the third verse:
You crushed the darkness Made a fool of death and grave Oh, King Jesus You make royals out of slaves And now there’s breakthrough Now there’s freedom in Your name You gave us power And the keys to do the same
Echo (In Jesus’ Name) by People & Songs
I also love the repetitive nature of the chorus. Kids could easily sing out “In Jesus’ Name!” I mean, what’s more powerful than that?!
Give Me Jesus by James Wilson
I love this high energy rendition of a powerful anthem. This is also a great one for kids because they can easily join into the chorus and all of the “hey, ey, ey’s”. The lyrics are also a potent reminder of what’s really important in this life:
This world is not my home I am just passing through Earthly treasure soon will fail But I found my hope You are the one I want You are the one I need This world can have it all It can take everything … But give me Jesus
Give Me Jesus by James Wilson
I can’t help but lift my hands during the chorus and sing at the top of my lungs: Give. Me. Jesus.
If you’re trying to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, but are overwhelmed by how difficult it can be, I’m here to help. These meal prep products are my must-haves for maintaining a consistent healthy lifestyle and eating healthy. So keep reading to find out what kitchen tools you can use to help make healthful meals more consistently! For an even easier way to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, don’t forget to check out my 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan & Guide.
Are you looking for an easier way to make healthy meals? I’ve got several awesome kitchen tools for healthy eating. Keep reading…
I made this list because we all need more items on our Amazon wish list! 😉
I started following an anti-inflammatory diet after getting so fed up with my chronic joint pain and endometriosis pain. I had gone from doctor to doctor with no real answers and only solutions with boatloads of side effects. I was in debilitating pain and feeling helpless.
That’s when I decided to take my health care into my own hands. I’ve learned that you have to be your own best advocate for your health.
One of the things that has helped me recover my health is following this anti-inflammatory diet. It’s not a quick fix or a cure-all, but it has made a huge difference in my life.
However, when I first started it was HARD. I had a difficult time finding meals that my family would actually eat and most of the recipes I found were very complicated and took a ton of meal prep.
However, I would be remiss to tell you all about the recipes I use without giving credit to my amazing kitchen tools! This is what helps me actually follow through with making these meals without all of the daunting meal prep tasks.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links on this page.
Having good knives REALLY makes a difference in your cooking experience. Especially when you’re chopping lots of vegetables – it pays to have the right tools. My mother-in-law gifted us a set of Cutco knives for our wedding and they have been invaluable. I even bring them with us when we travel because I hate using dingy knives at vacation rentals!!
One of the nice perks about having a Cutco knife is that you can get it sharpened for free and their warranty is amazing – they really back these knives. Last year I sent in my knives and kitchen shears to be sharpened, and they replace the kitchen shears completely because they were slightly bent (I didn’t even notice!). That’s pretty amazing.
I can’t describe to you what a game changer this thing is for a busy mom. I love that I can prep a meal when I have a few minutes of free time during naps and then set it and forget it. It’s has all of the benefits of a slow cooker sped up – and more.
We actually have TWO instant pots now – the larger 8 quart one and the smaller 3 quart one. I’ll often use the larger one to make a big batch of dinner and the smaller one to make farro, risotto, rice, oatmeal or other starches.
In this post, we are discussing how to get your picky eater to eat healthy – whether that’s your toddler, preschooler or your husband! I share my favorite methods for encouraging my picky eaters to eat healthy foods.
Hey there, friend. You’re probably reading this because you want to know how to help your child to eat better, healthier, and more consistently.
First of all let me say that I am NOT a medical professional or dietitian. I’m just a regular ole mom like you who has struggled with the same things. This is what I’ve learned through experience, tons of research and consulting with doctors, nutritionists and registered dietitians. If you or your child has a health issue, please consult with your doctor.
Dr. Justin Coulson at Happy Families – a psychologist and father of 6 (!!) daughters – remarks that some of the most common mealtime mistakes are:
So, what do you do when you fall into some of those pitfalls? I know I have done ALL of those things at one point or another.
Tip #1: Take a deep breath.
Seriously. Take a deep breath. I’ll wait.
Now, hear this: your kid will be okay. They will not starve. They will not grow a third ear because they refuse to eat their broccoli. Let’s have some perspective on this.
One thing my doctor mom would always say: eating is not a learned behavior.
We are not taught to eat, it is something that we are biologically programmed to do. Yes, we learn bad behaviors and unhealthy habits – but starving ourselves is not typically one of those!
Recently, we realized that dinnertime had become a struggle for us with the kids. They just weren’t eating their food! We bribed them, cajoled them, throttled them (just kidding)…after weeks, we decided that they simply were not hungry at that time. So we adjusted their snack schedule and then finally made the decision that they did have to sit with us during family dinner, but they didn’t have to eat at that exact time. However, they couldn’t choose to eat something else: they had to eat a reasonable amount of dinner if/when they wanted a bedtime snack or treat.
I can’t tell you what a stress reliever this has been for our family. We’re able to have fun, light-hearted meals without battling over food. The kids still eat their dinners – albeit, later than we would like – but they eat when they’re hungry and oftentimes they eat ALL of their dinner and more!
This all started with us taking a deep breath and gaining some perspective. What mattered was that our children ate and that they ate reasonably healthy, filling foods. It doesn’t HAVE to be on “our” schedule and it may not look like what we want it to, but we’re accomplishing our goal: happy, healthy children.
Tip #2: Don’t bring food into the house that you don’t want your child to eat.
If your kid only wants to have hot dogs and macaroni for dinner and cocoa puffs for breakfast – just don’t buy it anymore. If they fill up on Doritos and Chewy bars all afternoon long and then aren’t hungry for dinner – there’s a simple fix for that.
Look, I’m not saying this is easy to do…but I am saying it’s simple.
We recently stopped purchasing applesauce pouches – not because they were unhealthy, but because that was the only thing my son wanted to eat! We were spending more money on pouches than on any other category of food each week. So, I stopped buying them.
Now, let me tell you that at first he was devastated. It broke my heart. But, as kids do, he moved on. He doesn’t even ask for them anymore and is perfectly happy with the other snack choices that we offer him.
A simple anti-inflammatory stir fry that’s easy to make and filled with inflammation fighting foods!
If you’re looking for a go-to anti-inflammatory meal, this is mine. This simple stir fry is chock full of inflammation fighting foods, it’s easily customized and very versatile depending on what veggies you love in your stir fry. Also, it’s dairy-free, gluten free, sugar free and yet, it’s NOT taste-free!! 😉
There’s so many different ways to make this dish – and that’s what makes it my go-to weeknight meal that we don’t get tired of. You can swap out rice for rice noodles or even spaghetti squash as the base. You can utilize in-season vegetables along with tried-and-true veggies your family loves. I’ll also occasionally include chunks of pineapple or mango for a sweet surprise!
So, pick your family’s favorite veggies, throw them on the pan with some olive or coconut oil and stir fry away! You can easily make this a vegetarian dish or include shrimp, seared tuna or beef.
One way to make this dish even simpler is to purchase pre-chopped veggies in your produce department. Some stores even have a “stir fry” bag with fresh (not frozen) vegetables that are perfect for a weeknight stir fry. Alternatively, you could chop up your veggies in the morning or the night before so that you can throw them on the pan right when you get home. I’ve also been known to use kitchen shears to make my chopping and cutting even easier! 😉
So, what makes this stir fry “anti-inflammatory”?
It’s filled with tons of inflammation-fighting foods with tons of antioxidants such as broccoli, snap peas, garlic, onion, peppers and, of course, olive oil.