Welcome to day 14 of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Our guest blogger today is Julie from Gluten Free Vegan Family. Julie Lynn, author of The Gluten Free Vegan Family, began a journey to healthy eating as a necessity. Food allergies & sensitivities, connective tissue disorders and chronic pain in 4 of her six children forced her to search for healthy food alternatives. As she is fond of saying, the gluten-free, vegan diet chose her family, rather than them choosing it. However, the results of the dietary changes the family has made have been incredible (35 pounds of weight loss for the mama and kiddos who are energetic and virtually pain-free most of the time). Julie Lynn creates recipes and blogs with 5 of her 6 kids and even occasionally her granddaughter at Gluten Free Vegan Family, where the vast majority of the recipes are kid created.
Julie’s Recipe: Cranberry Goji Bar Cookies
Julie’s Tip: Get your kids into the kitchen!
I’ll be honest with you. Watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution make me hot under the collar. I was more than a little frustrated to see children who could not identify a raw tomato. What in the world? Who doesn’t know these things? Why hasn’t some one taught those poor children?
Then I stopped, took a deep breath and checked myself. Of course there are young children that have no idea where their food comes from. How would they? When food is simply delivered to children in the shape of dinosaur nuggets and French fries or some other processed product with the idea that getting them to eat “anything” is better than nothing, we can expect no more of them.
So whose fault is it? Should we blame the parents? Um, let me say here that I am the mother of 6 children. I totally understand the need to get some food on the table, into a lunch sack, or just plain into a kiddo in a hurry. There are things to be done, places to go, activities in which to participate! Nope, I am not going to blame the parents either. We’ve created a culture that says fast is better and “something” in the way of food, is better than nothing at all. We’ve all fallen into the trap of fast and easy “meals” that sacrifice quality. Been there, done it. No judgment here.
So what is the answer? Choose whole, unprocessed foods and get your kiddos into the kitchen! Yep, you are going to have to spend some time in there too. But it will be well worth it. The only way kids will ever know where their food originates and how to feed themselves well in order to gain and maintain health is for them to have hands-on experience.
You may be asking yourself where to begin. Start simply. I’m no Suzy Homemaker, yet my kids are great cooks! Just start with some basics, then you can turn them loose. Make a salad together and allow your little one to pass you ingredients as you do the preparation work. Teach your child how to wash produce and peel and cut vegetables. Knife skills, taught carefully, are invaluable. Make smoothies together. One of my two-year old granddaughter’s favorite activities is to make a smoothie with her auntie. She loves putting frozen fruit in the blender and pushing the “start” button when Auntie tells her it’s time.
Educate your children through recipe books, cooking programs, or just spending time with you in the kitchen. A little bit of your time will go a long way in helping to promote a healthy lifestyle for your child. Start with basic skills and build on them, always remembering to keep things age appropriate. (I know none of you are going to put your 5 year old in the kitchen alone with knives, pots and pans, and a hot stove and say “have at it”, but I just have to say it so that I know I said…hey guys…don’t do that.) 😉
I started my kids out by allowing them to create their favorite foods from scratch. Most of them learned to make desserts before anything else. If it is something they love, they are more likely to care and participate.
Our 15 year old, Livy, is now our chief dessert maker. She whips up all kinds of healthy goodies for us on a regular basis. You see, you don’t have to worry that desserts are bad for your children. Not when they are made at home with whole ingredients and no funky additives. There is no need to fret when you have homemade, healthy goodies from which to choose.
Here is Livy’s recipe for raw cookies. Easy to make and simply delicious.
Livy’s Cranberry Goji Bar Cookies (makes 1, 9×13 inch pan of cookies)
– 1 1/2 cups nuts or seeds (use your favorites)
– 1/2 cup raisins
– 1/2 cup dried cranberries
– 1/4 cup soaked dried goji berries (buy these at you local health food store or Asian market)
– 10 dried pitted dates
– 2 Tablespoons hemp protein powder (optional)
– 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (extra dark)
– 1 Tablespoon peanut butter (not actually raw – to be truly raw use any raw nut butter)
– 8 Tablespoons coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until chunky cookie dough texture is achieved. Press into 9×13″ pan and chill to firm. Cut into bars and drizzle with chocolate topping.
– 1/2 cup cocoa powder (extra dark)
– 3 teaspoons coconut oil
– 2 Tablespoons agave nectar or honey
– 1/4 cup water
Warm coconut oil to form liquid stir in other ingredients and drizzle over cookies. Enjoy!
In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing. The more you do, the more chances you have to win!
- Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like. Each comment is an entry.
- Sign up for The W.H.O.L.E. Gang newsletter.
- Visit that guest blogger’s site and leave a comment there too.
- Tweet about this project using both of these in your tweet so I’ll find you #30days2 #foodrevolution
When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.
thanks for sharing your kitchen with your kiddos. I have each of my kids in the kitchen cooking dinner with me at least once a week. It's great time together and they love the one on one attention 🙂
I love this "revolution" as there are so many good bloggers out there and so little time to fine them! I'm glad you're bringing people together, Diane.
Julie — wow, 6 kids! I thought I had my hands full with 4. I feel the same way about celiac, autoimmuity choosing me and the health GF diet choosing me and my family, rather than me choosing it. How blessed we are because of that! Sounds like you're teaching your kids well and this is all a part of that. Love the sound of these bars of yours. I'll definitely give them (or some version of them) a try. Thanks! Great post and nice to "meet" you!
Thanks so much for this post! I love your final thoughts on having homemade goodies. I completely agree. I feel like there's so much pressure to avoid sugar in any form except maybe stevia. My 1 and a half year old loves pressing the buttons too! It's so easy to get your babes into the kitchen – they want to be there because you're there! I love the drizzle recipe – will definitely be trying that!
Recipe looks so good! Having my kids help in the kitchen will help them be connected to what we are eating. With 3 kids and the 4th on the way I am encouraged to see families with 4-6 kids doing this together.
What a great idea! I have been letting my 5 yr old pick a new ingredient, usually fruit or veggie and we prepare it together, he loves it.
I have never tried Goji berries, I am very interested in trying this recipe.
Another great post! I must admit I looked at your photo and said, hey, isn't that fayinagirl? Then I wasn't sure if it was you, so I had to go to your blog. Guess I know you by your Twitter name and posting user name more than I do your real name! LOL In any regard, thanks so much for sharing your family's journey to health. I love the recipe, too. I had no idea that you could get goji berries at the Asian grocery. I'll definitely be picking some up and giving this recipe a go. Love that chocolate drizzle, too. That could have many applications! It really is so easy to get kids in the kitchen. Their sense of adventure and lack of knowledge of the "rules" can help create some really cool dishes, too.
Thanks, Julie Lynn!
those look delicious! I will definately be making them soon. there is nothing I enjoy more than cooking with my kids. my three year old loves to dump and stir. sure a lot end up outside the bowl but it's ok. 🙂 my five year old likes to make up his own recipes. some of his combinations are less than appetizing but I figure he'll learn what flavors work as he gets older. 🙂
Great post! And those photos are AMAZING! Zoe and Ashley love to help me in the kitchen, and Zoe is always talking about how she's going to make everything when she gets bigger—she's so excited to cook like Mommy =) I think being a positive role model for our kids is huge. People always compliment me on how polite my girls are. I always tell them, "It's just because they hear how my husband and I talk to each other. Andy and I say 'please' and 'thank you' to each other, and they model us." This can be applied to so many things, like cooking and eating. =)
I love this recipe, especially since its from your daughter. I can't wait to have kids simply so that I can cook with them. I loved cooking growing up (hence my passion now). Just teaching them that they can create something and that they are in control of what it tastes like and what's in it and its delicious is so rewarding. Thanks for sharing your story.
Thanks all! Shirley, you make me giggle when I read your comment. Yep, it's really me. =)
Nice to "meet" all of you too!!!
Btw…the photos were taken by my 19 year old daughter who is studying art in college. She thanks you for the nice comments about her photos. =)
Nice post and can't wait to try the recipe…scrumptious!
It's great that your kids are cooking and coming up with recipes. My toddler just saw the pictures of the goji bar cookies and said, "That looks really good!" 🙂
What a deliciously healthy cookie bar. Last fall I made some vegan date and orange cookies, but these are even better. Can someone say CHOCOLATE? Thank you for your thoughtful post, Julie. It warms my heart to see you instilling an appreciation and love of cooking and good food in your children.
Getting kids to help is a great idea. Our 3 year old loves to stir.
Yum! Those look delicious!
I love your message today. I'm going to start to engage my two boys, 14 and 12 to help with the cooking and baking. They did when they were little but now, besides making themselves pizza bagels and grilled cheese, they are absent when I'm doing my cooking. I think its a great idea and the easiest way to start is to get them to make the salad.
Love the dessert too and it looks so easy. Thank goodness for food processors!
YUM!!! These look so good! ON the one hand, I think my kids are so healthy. On the other, I see the number of things food bloggers' kids will eat, and feel I've fallen short! Oy.
Our three year old always wants to "help" in the kitchen, and is just the age where we wants to know where everything comes form.
I love these! My kids enjoy cooking in the kitchen a great deal – and I agree, they need to learn what REAL food is.
ohhh! these look so good. Thanks for showcasing all these wonderful healthy blogs!
yum, these look delicious and with not too much alterations, I can make them for my son! He is three and loves to help in the kitchen, he's always right there to dump stuff in and mix things around, I love it!
Great post! Getting the kids involved in the kitchen is so important, and I have to remind myself sometimes that it's okay if things take longer because they are "helping"!
Yuuuum, how fantastic! I wish I had been in the kitchen at 15 (or earlier!!). I doubt I would have been as amazing as Livy though 🙂 Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe!
Well, I sure will be making these bars!
Raw desserts are my favorite….looks yummy!
Love this recipe – making it for my sister and nephew (vegitarians) when they come to visit next month!