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Real Food Halloween Tips

Real Food Halloween Tips

Halloween is just a few days away and we will be inundated with candy once more. A little candy once a year is probably pretty harmless, but more and more I am realizing that candy in today’s culture is not just a one-time isolated event. Candy is being dressed up into sugary drinks, granola bars, and cereals. It’s used as rewards for good behavior, perfect attendance, and even for doing a great job at the doctor’s office! It tricks us into treating all year long.

Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard we try, junk just follows us everywhere we go! So here are a few ground rules to set so that you can still have fun during the holiday, but also keep focused on making it a real food Halloween instead.

  1. Set limits on candy.
    While I’d love to just throw all of it in the trash, I know that’s not reality. We often talk about letting life happen some of the time and that pertains to holidays as well. While we don’t let our kids go crazy with candy, we do allow them to have a few pieces on Halloween night and also let them keep 10 of their favorite pieces  for later. We put it away in a cabinet to pull from on occasion to put in their lunch or for an after dinner treat. Honestly, those 10 pieces last us almost the entire year until Halloween comes again!
  2. Focus on the dressing up.
    Try to make Halloween more about the fun of picking and creating their costume. That involves creativity and imagination!
  3. Create candy alternatives.
    I often try and steer my kids into more real food treats whenever I can. When they ask for candy, I tell them that I will make chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip blondies (made with chickpeas!), or mint chip “nice” cream. That way they are not deprived of getting a treat, but we do it without all the added junk.
  4. Be proactive.
    Knowing the possible inundation of sugar at a party or trick or treating, make sure there is good food in your kid’s belly before and after. Pull your kids aside and tell them they can have one piece of candy with her friends. Everything else has to come home and gone through later.
  5. Be a role model.
    Parents are important role models in their children’s food choices. We can determine what types and how much food they are exposed to all year long, why should Halloween be any different?

What to Do with the Candy You Get

Doing an internet search, you will find some ideas for leftover Halloween candy including donating to your local Ronald McDonald House, nursing homes, food pantries, children’s hospitals, veterans’ homes, or women’s shelters. I am personally not a huge fan of donating candy to other people. As a real food advocate for everyone, if it’s not good enough to keep around my house then I don’t want other people eating it either! Especially low income families challenged with access to real food, or kids or adults that are battling potentially life threatening diseases that are fueled by sugar like cancer! Oy Vey!

Try these alternatives instead:

  1. Trade it in for money.
    Determine an amount of money you will pay for each piece of candy. Let your kids take the money they earn and add it to their savings, spending, sharing jars.
  2. Find a local dentist that participates in the Halloween Buyback Program.
    Again, I hate that they are sending the candy overseas as our troops deserve to eat healthy too. So, maybe you can find a local dentist that will take the candy and donate money to a local charity or give out toothbrushes to the underprivileged instead.
  3. Leave it out for the Switch Witch to take. 
    On Halloween night at bedtime, kids leave a heap of their trick-or-treat sweets with their Switch Witch pal… and in the morning they will see their candy has been switched for a special switch gift!
  4. Allow them to trade in their candy for the “gift of an experience.”
    We started asking for family members to do this for Christmas last year. We’d much rather experience something together than have more “stuff!” So why not trade in candy for a night out at the movies (bring your own homemade popcorn), or some jumpy time at a bounce place…or a new favorite of ours is going roller skating!
  5. Get Crafty!
    The wrappers can be used for decoupage or other crafts and the candy itself can be re-purposed for your gingerbread house at Christmas. You can even make glossy paint out of Skittles!!!
  6. Use it for math games.
    M&M’s can be used for addition and subtraction or, you can sort your candy (chocolate, gum, lollipops, fruit snacks, etc.) and figure out what percentage each group contributed to your total amount.
  7. Donate your candy to science.
    Have a science fair coming up? There are lots of great candy experiments you can do at home.

How will you be handling Halloween this year?

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Prevention

Elderberry Syrup for Cold and Flu Prevention

Cold and flu season is fast approaching! You may not be surprised that we don’t get flu shots and I never run to the doctor before trying natural ways to prevent or treat illnesses first. It must be paying off because we haven’t been to the doctor for a sick visit in 3 years. Sure, we’ve had a few sniffles here and there, even some fevers which have left us curled up on the couch for a few days, but I always treat them at home with natural remedies.

Elderberry syrup is my go-to prevention aid for cold and flu season. Elderberries contain high levels of vitamin A, B and C and are used to boost the immune system, improve heart health, fight coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections, and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. And while you can purchase Elderberry syrup online, even the organic versions have some preservatives and flavorings I find undesirable, as well as set you back $15 for a 4 oz bottle! This recipe will make roughly 16-24 oz and is easy and inexpensive to make at home with a few simple ingredients.

Elderberry Syrup Ingredients

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Elderberry Syrup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32 oz
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried elderberries
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 half-inch pieces of ginger root
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup raw honey
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil then cover and lower to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 35-40 minutes until the liquid is reduced to half.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Let cool to about 115 degrees (just slightly warm to the touch)
  6. Add the honey and stir until it's dissolved.
  7. Store in a glass jar in your refrigerator.
  8. If you won't use it right away, freeze in ice cube trays for later use.

Usage:

  • Children: Take 1/2 – 1 tsp daily.
  • Adults: Take 1/2 T- 1 T daily.
  • Take a day or two off each week.
  • In the event a cold or flu does strike, take your normal dose 2-3 times per day until symptoms disappear.

Check out my post 12 Ways to Beat Your Cold or Flu Naturally for more ideas! How do you ward off illness when it sets in?

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

This post is shared at Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Hop

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Medical disclaimer: Although I am a sucker for a great fashionable coat, especially white ones, I am not a doctor. This post is not intended to treat, diagnose or take the place of taking prescription medication when necessary. Always check with your doctor first if you have any questions or concerns about your health or the health of your family.

Real Food School Lunch Ideas

 

School Lunch Ideas for Real Food KidsLast week I posted about my favorite real food kid lunch supplies (check it out here if you missed it). These supplies make packing lunch easier for all of us. But the next problem we face is what to actually fill those Bentology lunchboxes with?! I always make a resolution to give my children beautiful, healthy, creative real food school lunches. Then 3 weeks later we are back to boring ole PB&J. But fear not – this week is dedicated to quick and easy real food school lunches you can pack your kids. It’s the quickest, easiest way to save money, cut down on waste and eat healthier!

Real food does take time and effort, and the reality is that we are all busy so it’s important to remember to keep it as simple as possible. This list is a good starting off point to give you some ideas. Don’t be overwhelmed – do the best you can and forgive yourself when it doesn’t go perfectly.

Planning in advance is the key to getting good, healthy lunches in your kids lunchboxes. Gee, haven’t you heard me say that before?!?! I like to take Sundays to plan the week and bulk bake, chop and package ingredients together so I can pull them quickly and easily throughout the week. A little time on the weekend will keep your kids from cafeteria food that, depending on your district, could likely be pre-made, frozen and loaded with questionable ingredients.

*I change some ingredients in these recipes to make sure they are real food approved and/or more plant-based.

Main Dish:
Baked Chicken Nuggets
Pasta Salad
Peanut Butter Strawberry Banana Quesadillas by Cooking Madly
Dime sized Whole Wheat Pancakes by 100 Days of Real Food
Overnight Oats by Keepin’ it Real
Sandwich on a Stick by Weelicious
Sushi Sandwiches by Weelicious
Rice Cakes with nut butter or cream cheese and raisins
Pita pizzas (use organic, grass fed cheese)
Whole grain pita sandwich with hummus and veggies (I like Ezekiel brand)
Frozen Uncrustables by Momables
Applegate lunchmeat roll ups
Homemade Lunchables by Earthworms and Marmalade (use Ak Mak crackers)
Granola with almond milk (keep the milk in a separate container of your Benology lunchbox)
Bean burrito with lettuce, tomato, black beans and rice

Leftovers:
Save time – Cook once, eat twice! Most kids don’t mind eating them cold.

Mac and Cheese by Live Simply
Pulled Pork by 100 Days of Real Food
Fried Rice by Don’t Waste the Crumbs (I omit the eggs and use veggie broth instead)
Chicken Noodle Soup by Live Simply
Tomato Basil Soup by Blender Babes (if you don’t have a Vitamix just heat on the stove top)
Minestrone Soup by Family Fresh Meals
Nachos. Layer meat or beans, salsa, sour cream, etc and serve chips on the side.

Sides:
Applesauce – find with one ingredient variety like Trader Joe’s or Eden Organics
Fruit, fruit salad/Fruit kabobs
Stove top popcorn by Simply Recipes
Trail mix
Hard boiled egg
Vanilla Cashew Yogurt by Dreena Burton with homemade granola by Keepin’ it Real
Homemade Go-Gurts by Unconventional Kitchen (use the yogurt recipe above)
Salads by Super Healthy Kids
Veggies: carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, bell peppers, corn kernels, peas, celery, cherry tomatoes, etc.
Hummus

Muffins/Breads:
Muffins are easy to bake a double batch and freeze. They are great for throwing into a lunch box as a side or to use as a snack at snack time.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by Happy Herbivore
Maple Banana Bread (or make into muffins) by Dreena Burton
Pumpkin Bread by Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!
Apple Pie Muffins by Momables

Treats:
Forever Cookies by Food Babe
Almond Butter Brownies by Food Babe
Homemade Berry Pop Tarts by Minimalist Baker
Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding by Minimalist Baker
Chocolate Chia Pudding by Dreena Burton
Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies by Chocolate Covered Katie
Mini Powdered Donuts by Chocolate Covered Katie

If you need snack ideas to pack, check out my post 40 Real Food Snack Ideas for more inspiration! Cheers to another school year!

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

School Lunch Supplies for Real Food Kids

 

School lunch supplies for real food kids

The end of August is creeping up on us and before we know it we will all be back in school mode. Waking up early, running around to after school activities and packing school lunches. Did I just hear groans from you all?

Packing school lunches just might be the death of me. I have no idea why it is so difficult as I have to make lunches everyday anyways, but there is just something about school lunch packing that keeps me up at night! The daily task of coming up with lunch ideas and packing them is enough for any mom to call it quits and load up the lunch account at school instead. But even though the responsibility of packing lunches gets overwhelming, for the sake of my children, I do it knowing they are getting a nutritious meal rather than chicken nuggets, chocolate milk, and pizza on a daily basis from the school cafeteria.

To make it all easier on us, here are some of my favorite supplies to use:

Bentology Bento Lunch Box
I purchased these Bentology lunch boxes (formally Laptop Lunches) for my kids 3 years ago. They have held up well and I love that I can wash the containers each night reducing the use of plastic wrap and baggies. They have two containers with lids for items like yogurt, dressing or oatmeal and a handy dandy compartment to store the stainless steel utensils.

Reusable Ice Packs
I have tried many ice packs over the years and they all seem to be so awkward. If you’re tired of the bulky blue bricks that you are trying to shove between sandwiches and snacks, get these Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Slim Lunch Ice Packs. They look promising and get great reviews by users.

Reusable Napkins
Cutting down on waste is a big goal of mine so using reusable napkins only makes sense. Try out these organic ones from Laptop Lunches.

Thermos Bottles
We have been using our thermos’ for the kids for the past 4+ years. They are probably the best purchase I’ve made when it comes to water bottles for the kids since they are still holding up well. Drinks stay surprisingly cold for the whole day and they are easy to throw in lunch bags or store on the side of backpacks. They are leak proof and won’t sweat. Check out all the colors and characters here.

Thermos Containers
When you want to keep foods hot like soups, mac and cheese or oatmeal, check out these Thermos Funtainer Food Jars. They come in a variety of colors and different characters to make any child happy.

Reusable Food Pouch
My kids love squeezy applesauce but with a hefty price tag and questionable ingredients, this year I am making my own. These Little Green Pouches get great reviews and hold a fair amount for a school age child.

Biodegradable or reusable sandwich bags
Plastic Ziploc bags might be fast and easy, but they aren’t helping the environment by throwing them away every single day. Try these washable Neat-O reusable bags for sandwiches or snacks instead. They come in regular sandwich sizes, snack sizes or gallon sizes. You can even use them for items other than food. If you must use a throw away variety for school trips or such, try these Wexy biodegradable brand, PrideGreen Recycled Materials Zip-N-Seal Bags or BioBag Sandwich Bags.

Silicone Muffin Liners
I love these Pantry Elements Silicone Baking Cups/Cupcake Liners for different purposes. Obviously I use them when baking up some muffins or cupcakes, but they also double as cups in your lunch boxes to divide different foods. They come in really fun colors and clean up easily.

Zipzicle Yogurt Sleeves
Y’all. These things are amazing! I know they technically are “disposable” and I just mentioned I am all about saving the environment and all, but hear me out. These can be washed out and reused time and time again. I used them for summer popsicles and plan to use them for making my own Go-Gurt for school lunches. While the reusable FoodWorks Silicone Molds are always an option, I found these Zipzicles were much easier for the kids to eat and store in my freezer.

Fun Toothpicks
Toothpicks are easy to find at any store and will make lunchtime more fun for your little ones when a cute little character or fuzzy ball is sticking out the top of their sandwich. Try these CUTEZCUTE Animals Food Picks and Forks.

Cookie Cutters
Nothing says love to a child like a sandwich in the shape of a dinosaur, bear or heart. There is just something about it that kids love! Try any of these sandwich cookie cutters to spice up their lunchbox.

Hopefully these tools will make packing lunch a little easier and fun this year for you and your kiddos!

Do you have any favorite products for your kids lunch boxes? I’d love to hear!

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Easy Homemade Fruit Popsicles

 

Fruit Popsicles

It feels like summer out there and if your kids are anything like mine, they come craving popsicles…and often bring the neighborhood kids with them. I love being a house where the kids find refuge from the heat, but I refuse to buy popsicles containing artificial colors and flavors. 

I started making fruit popsicles a couple years ago and they are so super simple that it’s almost silly not to make them yourself. There really are no rules to making your own fruit pops, and as with most of my cooking, I kind of just throw things together and hope for the best. But my favorite seems to be these babies below made with orange juice and a mix of kiwi, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Easy Homemade Fruit Popsicles
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Fresh fruit. Peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or kiwi are some of my favorites.
  • Liquid. Orange juice, blended watermelon, coconut water, etc.
Instructions
  1. Wash and slice the fruit. Add to the popsicle molds arranging some fruit along the side if you are concerned about the appearance. Pour liquid into molds and insert the stick. Freeze overnight. When ready to eat, run the mold under hot water for a few seconds to remove the popsicle.

Real_Food_Life_Fruit_Popsicles_2

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Have a Healthy Easter without the Junk

Happy Easter without the JunkI have one very fond memory of Easter when I was little. My brother and I were looking for hidden eggs around the house and could not, for the life of us, find the last one. My mom put a bounty on the egg and told us she would give 3 pennies to the person who finally found it. That was like striking gold for a little kid. We continued to hunt and hunt until said egg was finally found. You know who found it? That’s right…me.

That Easter apparently made such an impact on me, because later during an original song writing session (which my brother and I often did for our amusement), I wrote an epic song about it. To this day, my brother can STILL sing it word for word. Maybe I missed my calling as a song writer.

I mention that story because Easter is a mere 11 days away. Typically this means more candy, more toys, more junk. Welcome to America. The land of commercialism. But Easter doesn’t necessarily have to equate with candy. I mean, I got so excited about 3 measly pennies, wrote a song about it and still remember those Easter events 3 decades later.

In past years, I really have limited how much candy has gone into my kids Easter baskets. This year, I am eliminating it all together! Heck, we still have Halloween candy left! Fortunately, there are other items to fill your kiddos baskets with, not centered around junk foods. (Edited: I caved and bought them each Theo’s Peanut Butter Cups. They had me at hello.)

Check out my list of fun alternatives!

Non-Food Egg Stuffers

“Better” Candy Choices – Although these are not all “perfect” choices, they are better than conventional candy full of food dyes, GMOs and fillers. If you are going to give candy this year, go for these brands instead.

Basket Stuffers

Finally, If you are looking for Easter egg dying alternatives check out these enviro-friendly alternatives.

Happy Easter and until next time, keep it real.

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

10 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

10 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat HealthyIt’s no secret obesity is becoming a huge problem, even in children. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Type 2 diabetes, once considered a disease of middle or old age, is now affecting a staggering number of overweight children. Today’s children, based on research, might be the first generation to live less healthy and possibly even shorter lives than their parents.

We are busier than ever running to soccer practice, attending dance classes, scheduling play groups, and completing homework, making healthy eating more of an after thought. Our rapidly paced lifestyle makes it easier to just grab and go rather than plan real food meals even if it means less nutrients for our family. Sometimes it may seem easier to throw up our hands and give in to the convenience foods we are bombarded with on a daily basis.

As parents, we all want the best for our children, but think “what’s the use of preparing healthy meals?” Throwing a salad in front of them could cause an all-out tantrum and at the end of a long hard day, is that really what we want to deal with? At least we know they will eat McDonald’s, pizza and hot dogs. Is there any hope? Why does it have to be such a struggle? Can kids really learn how to be “good” eaters?

Absolutely! I would consider my kids to be pretty decent eaters, most of the time. Sure, they are picky about some foods. One likes tomatoes – the other doesn’t. I’ve never put an avocado on their plate without fuss. The challenges are inevitable and often frustrating. But when I compare them to what I see their peers eating, I have to say I feel pretty confident about their food habits. Check out my tips and tricks that have gotten my kids to try, and like, a different variety of real foods.

  1. Use the 5 “Magic” Vegetables.
    Did you know that spinach, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and purple cabbage all have no taste when used in small amounts in your food? When I make smoothies I always add at least one of these veggies to the mix. Chocolate real food “milkshakes” and “green” eggs are fun and easy with a handful of spinach. Frozen zucchini makes a great addition to homemade “nice” cream, carrots, lemons, honey and ice make a fantastic sorbet.
  2. Dippity Doo Da.
    Kids love to dip their food. If your child won’t eat a veggie raw then put out a homemade dip for them. Last weekend I set out a plate of veggies for snack and my kids wouldn’t touch the broccoli or red bell peppers. As soon as I oohed and aahed over how great it tasted dipped in my homemade vegan ranch dip, they were all over it. I couldn’t get them to stop.
  3. Sprinkle it with “Love.”
    There was a time when my kids would moan and groan over every little speck in their food. Whether it be oregano in their pasta sauce or nutritional yeast sprinkled on their salads. Oh, who am I kidding, they still do fuss a bit over little tiny, minuscule flakes on their foods! So, I started to tell them that I sprinkled it with “love.” Now every time they ask, “Mom, what is this black thing on here? What did you make this with?” They remember and quickly reply, “Did you sprinkle love in here?” Yes kids. Yes I did. If it makes it easier, grab an old spice container, peel off the label and make a new one that says “Love” on it. They will eat it up!
  4. “You get what you get and you don’t get upset” and “no thank you bites.”
    These are familiar phrases around here. Offer them what you make yourself for dinner. No separate meals for the kids. That’s it! You get what you get. Another trick we found helpful is implementing “no thank you bites” into our routine. You don’t have to finish something if you don’t like it, but you can’t tell me you don’t like it unless you have tried one “no thank you bite.” If I am making something that I am pretty confident they won’t eat much of, I add something familiar to their plate. Whether it be orange slices, carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, a fruit salad or crusty whole grain bread. Salads are always a good side dish for meals that I know won’t go over too well.
  5. Presentation is everything.
    Kids will try anything as long as it’s wrapped up in a pretty little package. Why do you think food companies package their foods in fun shapes, colors, and sizes? Because it grabs the kid’s attention and it says “I am fun to eat!” Get creative in your kitchen and they are bound to try your fun foods as well. Peanut butter and jelly again? They won’t mind if it’s rolled up like sushi and they can use Cute Monkey Chopsticks. Applesauce is boring just plopped in a bowl. Try these fun Little Green Pouches instead and blend in some “magic vegetables” for an added nutrition boost. A smoothie can go from ordinary to extraordinary when you freeze them in these fun Zoku Classic Pop Molds or use these Silicone Ice Pop Molds. Try fruit roll ups that look exactly like the store bought version and tie them with little ribbons. And don’t forget colorful silicone baking cups for muffins or to use in lunchboxes.
  6. Leave it out and forget it.
    Try leaving out a plate full of cut up fruit and veggies on your kitchen table or counter and say nothing about it other than they are free to pick at it as they wish. I am often shocked how much will get eaten within a few hours, and surprised by what they will try if no one is watching.
  7. Create a snack container.
    Last weekend I cut up a bunch of veggies and threw them in a container in the fridge. I told my kids it was their snack container and they were allowed to go in the fridge and get it whenever they wanted. Having authority over it was the best thing since sliced bread. By the end of the day it was more than half empty. In fact, the next day when Kaiden pulled it out, he said, “Mom, this is almost gone. You need to refill it.” Try this idea in the pantry as well. Have some containers/bags with pre-portioned trail mix, whole grain pretzels, Larabars, etc. and let them grab when they want.
  8. Never assume they won’t eat it.
    I can’t tell you how many times I have made this mistake. I think as parents we just assume that because it’s healthy our kids won’t like certain foods and, in turn, don’t offer them. Or when your kids ask for a bite of whatever you’re eating we say, “You probably won’t like this, but here, try it anyway.” Don’t do that! A few weeks ago I ordered a tabbouleh/hummus/roasted cauliflower wrap (oh yes, it was good!) at the mall and my son asked to try it. My first reaction (in my head) was to tell him he probably wouldn’t like it because of the tabbouleh he tried before and didn’t like. Instead I refrained and quickly handed it over for him to try. Guess what? He LOVED it and ended up eating an entire half proclaiming next time he was ordering it for his lunch. Never, EVER assume your kids won’t like something or that they won’t try it.
  9. Encourage helping hands.
    I am sure you have heard that allowing kids to help in the kitchen will encourage them to try new things. By golly, it’s true. If they feel like they are a part of something they created, then they are certainly more inclined to try it. Involve them at the store as well – for example, have them pick out new produce. Hand them a real food cookbook and let them pick out a recipe for your meal plan. It may take some extra time and patience, but it’s worth it.
  10. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. And again. And again. And again.
    Don’t give up! Today might be the day they take a bite of something you have offered 20 times before. And, fingers crossed, they might actually decide they like it after all.

Remember, we as parents are the biggest role models in our children’s lives and the ones that make powerful decisions on their behalf. If you only keep real food in your home, you will only eat real food. Clear out the junk and set your family kids up for success.

Was there ever something that you didn’t like as a child only to find that you finally liked it after all these years?

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

40 Real Food Snack Ideas

Real Food Snacks IdeasMy kids are ALWAYS hungry. More times than I can count I will feed them lunch and an hour later they say to me, “When are we going to have lunch? I’m hungry.” True story. Because of that, I always have snacks on hand whether we are at home, at school or on the road.

If you follow us on Facebook, you saw in my post yesterday that my daughter came home with a Fruit Roll-Up that a friend gave her on the bus. When she asked, “Mom, look what my friend gave me! Can I have it as a snack?” I read the ingredient list (Lord help me!) and found nothing but GMOs, food dyes and chemicals in that pretty package of poison. But, because 80% of the time we really do eat well and I never want to be the mom that gives my kids a complex about food, I let her try it.

I don’t mind giving in to temptation every once-in-a-while and making choices that don’t otherwise follow the real food rules. As we talked about in my Real Food Pantry and Real Food Refrigerator posts, though, it’s essential to be well stocked so you don’t go grabbing processed foods whenever you feel hungry. This also includes snacks. Take a look at some real food snack ideas to inspire you to make better choices in between meals.

  1. Assorted fruit
  2. Dried fruit
  3. Fruit leather
  4. Cucumber slices, broccoli, baby carrots, grape/cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, etc. These are all great eaten plain or dipped.
  5. Ants on a log. Take a celery stick and spread cream cheese or nut butter in the groove. Top with raisins to make it look like “ants” walking along the celery.
  6. Edamame (organic only)
  7. Cucumber sushi or veggie cups
  8. Unique Wholegrain Sprouted Pretzels
  9. Lundberg brown rice cakes topped with nut butter or cream cheese and sliced fruit or raisins.
  10. Whole wheat crackers (like Triscuits but made without oil. Whole Foods 365 brand or Giant’s Nature’s Promise brand) or RyVita with Artichoke and White Bean Dip.
  11. Organic popcorn. Pop yourself on the stove top with a small amount of oil and sea salt.
  12. Larabars 
  13. Mary’s Gone crackers with tabbouleh.
  14. Ak Mak crackers (vegans beware-these do contain dairy) topped with organic cream cheese.
  15. Trail mix
  16. Apples dipped in nut butter or hummus or made into a apple sandwich.
  17. Applesauce. Make yourself or find “one ingredient” applesauce like Eden Organic or Trader Joe’s. Try these Little Green Pouches for the little ones.
  18. Banana “nice cream” (try my mint chip version!)
  19. Chocolate “milkshake” (with spinach! Recipe to come).
  20. Chocolate fudge pops. Add chia, spinach and/or zucchini and blend to make it even more healthy.
  21. Muffins- I love the muffins from Let Them Eat Vegan. I usually sub 1/2 almond flour for some of her recipes and use applesauce in place of some of the oil. To make them really fun, I use these Pantry Elements Silicon Baking Cups. My kids love them and I love that they are reusable and create less waste.
  22. Maple Banana Bread
  23. Smoothies (like my green smoothie)
  24. Chocolate PB avocado pudding
  25. Chocolate zucchini muffins
  26. Fresh fruit popsicles. Like these layered ones or just throw in chopped fruit like this one. Make them more enticing by using these Zoku Classic Mold Pops.
  27. Raisins
  28. Plain whole milk (or unsweetened coconut milk) yogurt with granola.
  29. Fresh squeezed juice (if you own a juicer).
  30. Dates. Try them plain or stuffed.
  31. Whole grain toast with fruit spread or nut butter. I love Ezekiel raisin toast.
  32. Applegate Farms organic lunch meat roll-ups (only on occasion).
  33. Whole grain pita triangles and salsa or hummus. Make chips by taking pita bread and cut into triangles. Spritz with water and sprinkle on spices of your choice. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes turning once.
  34. Guacamole with homemade corn chips
  35. Go Raw Cookies
  36. Sushi. Take a whole grain tortilla or whole grain bread that has been flattened with a rolling pin, crusts cut off, and load it with veggies, bean dip and roll up. You can also use nut butter and jelly. Slice into small sushi rolls and let the kids use chopsticks for a fun treat.
  37. Roasted chickpeas. From Sally’s Baking Addiction or Weelicious
  38. Chocolate banana bites. Melt Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips in a double boiler. Cut up bananas in large chunks. Dip in chocolate so half of the banana bites are covered and sprinkle chopped almonds, peanuts or cashews on the chocolate. Freeze for approximately 30 minutes.
  39. Leftover pancakes/waffles.
  40. Chia pudding

So there you have it. I’d love to hear from you. What are you and your family’s favorite go-to snacks?

Until next time, keep it real.

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