It could be the record-breaking Blizzard of 2013 along with only fleeting glimpses of sunlight. Maybe it’s the barrage of colds and flus that have hit our family of four. Whatever the reason, eight years into this caregiving role and I am still searching for answers to the question – why am I so tired?
Than, in a moment of inspiration I had a vision. Spinach! Spinach will energize me. Yes - and broccoli. Sweet potatoes, blueberries. That’s it! I need – my whole families needs – an infusion of Super Foods. Could super foods create a less tired and healthier family?
Inspiration turned into my Super Food Infusion Experiment. I would infuse our days with Super Foods in order to boost my energy and fortify my family’s health.
I made a shopping list, searching the internet for the most promising sounding Super Foods. Some sounded kid friendly, others would take some creativity: apples, oranges, almonds, broccoli, blueberries, salmon, turkey, leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, avocados, whole grains, oatmeal, beans (adzuki were named as best in one article), soy, green tea, yogurt, dark chocolate. There are MANY more foods that could be added to my list, but this seemed like a great start.
I shopped and my excitement built. My cart was full of Super Foods and I felt I was really on to something here. Surely I had the ingredients here to bring renewed energy and boost our immune systems.
The meals began.
1st meal: Dinner
The first challenge would be presenting salmon for dinner. My kids haven’t really eaten salmon. I haven’t really cooked salmon. I found a kid-friendly salmon recipe that was divine, pleased one of the kids (I think it will grow on the other one) and was EASY.
We had lightly sautéed spinach with a big splash of lemon on the side (which amazingly enough is something that my kids already ask for), whole grain medley, and fruit. Kids liked it!
2nd meal: Oatmeal.
While the kids weren’t thrilled with oatmeal on the menu, I enticed them with the term: “Build your own Oatmeal” bar and laid out an assortment of toppings: chopped almonds (soaked overnight to release more nutrients), apples, strawberries, raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon (which is also considered a super food).
The meals continue: turkey and spinach in whole grain wraps; guacamole; green smoothies (spinach, kale, parsley and fruits); spinach and kale salad with leftover salmon; blueberries often; almonds for snacks.
And then providence drops a new book into my hands: The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies For Hiding Healthy Food in Kids Favorite Meals, by Missy Chase Lapine. Lapine offers simple recipes that invite the reader to forge ahead and cook with ingredients like sweet potatoes, spinach, and chickpeas.
With the book in my hands less than 24 hours, I enthusiastically baked the Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins made with sweet potatoes. They were a hit. Next on our list: Strawberry ice cream.
I consider this experiment as in its infancy. Too soon to really know how it will impact our family. Here are my thoughts so far:
- I feel fuller and more satisfied with less food
- My kids are willing to at least try everything and excited about "Super Foods"
- I do feel more energized and less tired
- Cooking and meal planning has become fun and inspired again
- Still ready for winter to be finished so I can plant my garden full of super foods
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