I’ve received a number of questions from other mom’s asking for tips about helping their kids make healthier choices. Over the years I have had my own struggles as a mom. There are good days and bad days. Learning the balance between educating your kids versus pushing them so far the other direction has taken me years to figure out and being able to admit when I have made mistakes.
I remember a birthday party we attended years ago, a close friend of mine pointed out how my kids consumed an excessive amount of burgers and cupcakes (so much it was noticeable to others). In response to consuming plates and plates of food my kids clearly stated to others, they never get treats or burgers at home, so basically they were stocking up…. for life! haha.
This message was received by me loud and clear, along with moving forward in my formal nutrition education my eyes were opened to the dangers of calling foods “good” and “bad”. I began involving my kids in all parts of the journey to health: from buying seeds, planting and growing food, meal planning, making their own lunches, watching food documentaries together, not using food as “treats” for a job well done, and meal prepping as a family. I began to watch my kids attitude shifts, now don’t get me wrong when they go to a kids birthday party they are super excited to have pop and chips but my son knows that one pop is enough as it impacts how he feels later. Connecting how they feel after eating certain foods, talking about why that is, and trusting them to make more informed choices the next time has made a huge difference.
As a mom, I find the biggest rubs are around holiday events or school parties. I never want my kids to be denied, but I want them to internally connect with how celebrating with food that nourishes the body, choosing foods that make them feel happy versus anxious, and feeling how food can fuel them with energy to play is a better choice to make.
There seems to be a lot of artificially colored, and wax-like products posing as chocolate floating around from schools, friends, and grandparents. I wanted to create a kid-healthy snack that could make a great valentines day party snack, and that would involve them in the making of it.
These watermelon heart-shaped pizzas did the trick! We spent an afternoon together making them and my kids and I laughed and had a great time decorating (the same quality time you get from decorating cookies, but with a healthy spin). They were able to let their creative juices go wild and I gave them no guidance but let them be free to do their thing. When we were done, we ate a bunch! Then placed the rest in an air-tight glass container and the kids proudly took them as a healthy valentines lunch box treat. My kids were proud to show off what they made and I guess everyone wanted one!
Here is an example of how I was able to involve them and they did not feel denied at all. There also was no requests for sprinkles or candy, it was as if they did not even notice the array of superfood toppings that was placed before them. Sometimes we need to get creative with our kids, but I will tell you…. I took one for my lunch too and it was awesome. The ingredients below are the one’s you see in the picture that is what I had in the pantry that day. Remember to get creative, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, seeds, etc would all be great healthy toppings. So don’t feel you need to go out and buy all the things I have listed, be creative, keep it healthy, and have fun!
Heart-Shaped Watermelon Pizza's
- 2 medium watermelons
- 1 heart-shaped cookie cutter
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup mixed berries (your choice)
- 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
- 1/8 cup bee pollen
- 1/8 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1 fruit cut into shapes (i.e. banana, dragon fruit, apples, kiwi, etc)
- 1/8 cup goji berries
- Cut your watermelon into 1"-1.5" slices based on your cookie cutter. Push the heart cookie cutter into the watermelon to make heart shapes.
- Take a chilled can of coconut milk, vanilla, and maple syrup in a cold bowl and beat until fluffy. For a detailed recipe and a video of How to make Coconut Whip Cream click the recipe link in the recipe notes below.
- Set out your superfoods, watermelon hearts, spoons, and whipped cream out and have fun making your favorite designs.