But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”
So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.
Are you familiar with this section of Daniel? This is basis for me to help increase my family's desire to eat healthy foods. Foods that will nourish our bodies. Foods that God will use to help us stay well and enable us to serve Him better. But as you may well know, it is hard to convince the littlest eaters to eat for health. One way I have found to help get my kids to eat a greater variety of healthy foods, is to encourage participation in the kitchen. Yes, it makes things messier. Yes, it takes longer. Yes, it tasks my patience. Yes, it's so mush easier to just do it myself. BUT it's also a great way to bond with your growing child. This time allows an opportunity for conversation that may not happen otherwise. It also increases your child's confidence and sense of responsibility.
However, there are times that I designate as "kids in the kitchen" time and other times that I do it myself. This is based on the age of the child, the degree of difficulty of the meal or snack being prepared, the time that is available, and what else is needed from me that night/day (homework, laundry, dishes, errands, baths, etc). I try to plan a snack or meal that the children can prepare once a week, or at the very least, help me to plate or pack. This is what works with our schedule. Maybe your schedule allows more opportunities. Encouraging your children's participation in the kitchen will not only build your relationship with each other, but it will also help to foster a healthy relationship with food for all.
One example of a healthy treat your child can help with is frozen banana bites. All you need is two or three bananas, unsweetened chocolate, 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology (optional), honey and natural peanut butter (or any kind of nut or seed butter your family likes). We like peanut butter. A lot. I recently started making my own - a little timely, but so easy and economical.
Start by having your child peel and slice the bananas.
While he/she is doing that, you (or an older child) can melt four 1-ounce squares of unsweetened chocolate with raw, local honey to taste (about 1 Tbsp). After melted, remove from heat and add the optional scoop of Shakeology. **You could substitute a bar of dark chocolate instead of the unsweetened chocolate and honey**.
Let your child pick up the banana slices with a fork or spoon and dip into the melted chocolate, covering the banana completely. Place the covered banana slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze through.
Soften your peanut butter, or melt, and put in a sandwich or piping bag. If you are using a sandwich bag, cut a small hole in one corner in order to squeeze the peanut butter out of the bag onto the frozen banana slices. I did this step in the demonstration and picture because my son lost interest, but your child can easily do this step too. Then place the slices back in the freezer to set the peanut butter.
Remember, it does not matter what they look like, how perfect they set or how messy you and your children get. It's about working together, building your relationship, increasing their responsibility and love of healthy food.
What are some of your family's fun, healthy treat activities?