Being “Momma” is the best title and experience I could have imagined, the happiness and love is immeasurable. But if you have kids at home, you know this parenting thing ain’t easy! It’s not for the faint at heart, the weak or meek or mild! And what is one of the most annoying parts of your day? That daunting question….. “What’s for supper?”!!!! AHHHHHH!!!
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the single mother of the most amazing little four-year-old girl in the world! Evie Rae happens to have a severe dairy allergy. We are told that she may grow out of it by kindergarten but she is four and although the allergy has gotten slightly better over the years, it is still severe and requires an EpiPen. Needless to say, there is zero milk, butter, cheese etc. in our diet. TRY MAKING DINNER WITHOUT BUTTER, MILK OR CHEESE (that’s me yelling!)!!!
I love to cook, I always have. Before I had a baby, it was much easier to prepare, be creative and try new recipes… Now I just want to feed her a great meal (at least two-three times a day) to fill her sweet little belly. Most children get a healthy amount of protein, vitamin D, and most importantly, calcium from their daily intake of milk or cheese. When Evie Rae was finished with breast milk and organic soy formula, we moved her to an alternative milk called Ripple. Ripple is made with pea protein and contains more calcium, protein, vitamins D and B12 than milk and other alternatives. Also, an added bonus, there is a zero-sugar option!!
Fast forward, Evie only drinks water now. Meaning, no juice, and no soda. Get these two items OUT of your kid’s life… save the money and save their health. Sugar is the devil to our children’s long-term health. Since she no longer drinks Ripple, we needed to find other means of calcium and Vitamin D, especially in these cold winter months when we spend very little time outside in the sun. Ps- I cannot find a children’s vitamin that contains calcium because kids are “supposed” to consume milk/cheese.
So, what do we eat? Remember, no milk, butter, or cheese. No pizza, no mac and cheese, no cheese sticks. Take a look at every box, can, or seasoning pack in your cupboards. I guarantee 95% of them contain dairy of some sort.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the story but Evie and I truly shop around the perimeter of the grocery store, we get very little in the isles. We eat fresh fruit with every single meal. Veggies are included in lunch and dinner and these two meals always contain either a high protein and fibrous rice or noodles. And each meal also includes some sort of protein whether that be meat or egg. We are big meat-eaters.
I’m going to give you a few examples of each meal and the basics we include all the time. I hope you can find some value in what we do but there is no right answer. Every person and every family is very different and there is no right or wrong, do what works for you and your little people!
banana and dry cereal… usually in bed.
2 eggs over easy/medium, bacon or apple chicken sausage link. EVERY DAY. And too much ketchup (low sugar, of course).
I pack her lunch daily for school due to her allergy. We have a warm thermos with three food containers and a lunchbox/cooler for snacks and fruit. A few commonly found items:
– Rice with chicken and a steamed veggie (usually cauliflower or broccoli). If I over steam the cauliflower, I will mash and stir into the rice… Evie doesn’t even know it’s in there!
– Noodles with sauce or just olive oil and garlic salt (look for whole wheat noodles high in protein and fiber).
We are required to pack two snacks for pre-school and wrap care. At home we very rarely snack throughout the day. Evie Rae always has endless access to fresh fruit and dry cereal but that’s really it during the day between meals. I do allow her to have popsicles (Pedilyte makes pops with electrolytes and very low in sugar, Evie’s favorite).
– Boiled eggs (sprinkled with salt/pepper or garlic salt)
– Salami or ham slices
– Dry cereal (Kix, Cheerios, Chex, etc.)
– Fruit – bananas, apples, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, etc.
– Homemade muffins (not the ones from the store that are packed with sugar). I substitute the milk for whatever alternative milk I have on hand and instead of sugar you can use applesauce, get creative. And always make sure you let the kids help, it’s messy but teaching a kid to enjoy cooking is priceless
–Homemade Chex mix (I use light extra virgin olive oil instead of butter)
–Guacamole with chips or crackers
– Hummus with veggies, chips, or crackers (Evie prefers to eat with just a spoon)
–Ketchup sandwiches— don’t judge! Make sure to buy good quality, low sugar, and high protein bread or buns
Some of my favorite dinners are made in a crockpot because I prep ahead of time and it is ready at 5:00 PM to eat! In addition to crockpot meals, I grill meat regularly throughout each week and save time with steamable veggies that I throw in the microwave.
– Crockpot meal – Chicken thighs, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt/pepper, and chicken stock in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. You can add more stock and either noodles or dumplings or eat as is over rice.
– Grilled steak or pork chops, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or fresh green beans and noodles or rice. I season the meat with garlic salt and olive oil and the veggies are yummy if you steam and then throw in a super-hot skillet with oil and garlic/minced onions.
– I add potatoes to almost every meal also… throw potatoes into the crockpot or oven and slice up and fry in a skillet with a little oil and garlic.
–When making my pasta/spaghetti sauce (sometimes from scratch, sometimes from a jar) I brown beef and/or sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers, carrots— really you can add any veggies you have (mushrooms have a bunch of vitamin D and remember, Evie doesn’t get it from milk like most kids)! Then I blend it into a sauce, meat and all! She has no idea that it is packed with protein and veggies!
- I LOVE light extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. I drizzle this on noodles, veggies, eggs, etc.
- Garlic is included in every meal.
- Start seasonings (garlic, onions, cinnamon, etc.) while kids are babies so they get used to the taste while their eating habits are being formed.
- Nutritional yeast is fantastic! It is deactivated yeast, has a parmesan cheese flavor, and very high in protein and many B vitamins—it also acts as a thickening agent for soups or gravies.
- I do not buy everything organic, some things I think are a waste of money. These are the items I always try to buy organic:
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, apples—any fruit that you eat the entire fruit, including the skin.
- Veggies – same idea, any veggie where you eat the entire piece, including the skin— broccoli, lettuce, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, etc.
- Chicken, beef, pork and eggs—these proteins typically have SO MANY hormones pumped into them. Evie eats meat and eggs with every meal so I try to limit the hormones going into her system.