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How To Establish a Balance Between Healthy Recipes and Non-Healthy Recipes For The Family

A Reader Question:
I can’t help but notice all the healthy things you post about and pin, and yet perusing through your pinterest pages I see that you aren’t shy about ‘non-healthy’ recipes as well.  I am starting to try to eat clean but am wanting to find a balance where I can still go on Pinterest and not have to shy away from everything I see and being able to bake with my kids and actually have them enjoy the finished product, etc.  How do you establish this balance for yourself and your family?

My Answer:
Great question!  We save the fun, unhealthy recipes for our Friday Family nights and for birthdays, holidays and special occasions.  On normal days, we still have some sweets, but they are made with healthy ingredients, like the Apple Pie Bites I just posted.  Most of the time the sweetest thing in the house is frozen or fresh fruit which is great, because then the kids will grab it and eat it!  I work very hard at not having junk in the house during the week, but then always make sure we have a treat on the weekend.

Expanded Answer:
We love food around here, so I make a point of finding a balance between healthy eating and less healthy eating.  I feel good about the fact that we eat very healthy during the week, but then indulge on the weekends or during special occasions.  It is amazing how often special occasions come about, so believe me, my kids are not deprived.  If anything they appreciate food and have a healthy understanding of food that is nourishing and food that is not. They also are aware of how good healthy food makes them feel and how crappy they feel after eating too many sweets….not that it stops them from indulging but it makes them appreciate the necessity of good, nourishing food.

I think key to eating clean and healthy is to know what you are eating.  You are already winning the battle if you are eating from home and making things homemade.  This eliminates fast food & processed foods, artificial flavors and colors, and chemical ingredients that are next to impossible to pronounce.
Another key is finding sweet recipes that have ingredients that are profitable for the body and health.  Below are a few great examples, and my Vegan Desserts board on Pinterest has a bunch more ideas.

Our Favorite Healthy Snacks

Lastly, get your kids involved in the cooking and baking process.  Explain to them why honey is better than processed white sugar, and why whole wheat flour is better than white flour.  Get them used to making recipes with wholesome ingredients and talk about what each of those ingredients will do for the body–i.e. nuts…they have lots of protein that help build strong muscles and give energy!  
My girls are so used to cooking in a mindful manner that this Thanksgiving my 10 year old was appalled at how much sugar we used to make a Cranberry Cake.  It was 1 1/2 cups, and I love that she noticed that it was not the way we usually bake treats.  We also made Potato Casserole and she had NO IDEA what cream of chicken soup was.  I never buy it, and she just couldn’t understand why anyone would want creamed chicken! Then I told her it was really just flavored like chicken, which she very dramatically responded “eww!”  It was a good example to me of how much our eating habits have changed over the years.  A few years ago just about every dinner I made had cream of ‘something’ soup in it…and cheese…and sour cream…and butter.  
Our Not So Healthy Favorite Snacks

Funky Fritos – we make these once a year during football season

I think a balance is important, and I am very comfortable with how we have chosen to eat in our family.  If you are trying to change your family’s eating habits, take it a little at a time, explain why you are making each change as you do, and be patient.  They will eventually adjust and might just start to appreciate mindful, healthy eating.

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  • Keri Malmberg
    December 24, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Haha, I was just thinking that I needed to respond to your answer to me on Facebook, and here this is! I love it, and thank you so much for your input. I’ve been wondering if your eating habits had changed since you began having health issues, so this was a very interesting read. I’m slowly making changes because I want us all to like the changes, but also because I just don’t have the time or energy to dedicate myself to ‘cold turkey’ right now. It’s unbelievably overwhelming! But I am determined to it, slowly but surely. Thank you again and Merry Christmas! ~Keri

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