Mouths open wide: What are you feeding your children to nourish their bodies and minds?

Hey Folks! We’re excited to introduce Certified 21DSD Coach Erin Holland. Erin's article is part of a series of articles contributed by our Certified 21DSD Coaches. Enjoy! – Diane and Team

If you’re a parent, you know the struggle that exists around mealtime.

And multiple mealtimes at that, if your kids are anything like mine. You have a strong desire to model well for your children and eat healthy. However, does convenience tip the scales and somehow, all of those bright-colored, health touting packaged items jump into your cart at the grocery store? Throw in the crazy idea you had to join a 21-Day Sugar Detox group and now you feel overwhelmed?


As a parent, I’m all too familiar with the daily stress affecting my mind and my heart when it comes to shepherding my girls. Stressing about how to nourish not only my body, but these growing children, is not a burden I want to carry, and neither should you. Feeding ourselves does not need to be difficult. But where to begin you wonder? Let’s start with a few basics that are good for you and your littles.

Be a super fueling model machine

Make mealtimes fun, and set a good, healthy example by eating your veggies and trying new foods. Nosh on sauerkraut with your breakfast sausage; wrap a big, leafy green around a piece of chicken; sauté green apples in coconut oil or ghee and sprinkle with cinnamon. The more your kids see you enjoying healthy meals, the more they will want to join you. If your kids lean toward the picky side, hiding veggies in meatballs or egg muffins are great tools to have under your belt. Also, make sure they know you’re not their personal chef; cook meals for the family not for each individual person.

Include protein with every snack or meal

Since protein carries us over between meals, be sure to add protein to every meal. Include hard-boiled eggs or egg muffins, sugar-free deli meat or protein-laden leftovers, whole-milk yogurt, or chia seed pudding.

Involve your kids

21DSD-Coach-Guest-Post-Square-Erin-HollandYou might think taking your kids to the grocery store or having them help in the kitchen or garden is a nightmare waiting to happen. On the other hand, if you preface the outing as a treasure hunt allowing them to pick out 21DSD-friendly items, such as 2-3 vegetables or fruit they will eat during the week, you may have a successful trip to the store. Including your children in the kitchen with meal planning, cooking a meal–if old enough–or simply letting younger kids stir in some spices while you’re preparing dinner, encourages them to try new flavors and combinations. Better yet, planting a garden with seeds your kids pick out and watching your garden grow takes the learning experience to another level. Regardless of whichever approach you take, exposing your kids to whole, nutrient-dense foods and including them in decisions will get them excited about buying, preparing, and eating real food.

Utilize dips for healthy fats

If you have a picky eater, including some dips might just be the trick. With a dollop of almond butter, any green apple or banana gets an extra kick. Use avocado or guacamole along with kalamata olives to spice up veggie slices. Drizzle warmed coconut butter and cinnamon on mashed sweet potato.

How much to eat

As a 21DSD participant, it’s important for you to pay attention to and follow the limits on the Yes/No lists and Energy modifications (if you’re following them). Your children however, have more leniency and in general, have no limits. They eat more often for a good reason: their minds and bodies are growing. It also takes a lot of energy to swim, have dance parties, and jump on the bed. While high-quality proteins, healthy fats and nutrient-dense carbohydrates are good for all of us, for your kids, extra carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables and fruit, such as berries, is allowed and important.

Current snacks on rotation at our home:

Fruit and veggies: raw

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries*
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes*
  • Kiwi*
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini noodles

Veggies: roasted

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Delicata squash
  • Parsnips
  • Zucchini slices

Other snacks:

  • Gummies (we love these Blueberry Lemon Gummies from Balanced Bites)*
  • Coconut butter stuffed dates*
  • Banana and almond butter
  • Whole milk, grass-fed yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Egg muffins or Swirly Crustless Quiche (from Practical Paleo)
  • Hard-boiled eggs

When convenience reigns, these packaged items are, well, convenient:

  • Sausage (we like Applegate or Aidells)
  • Deli meat (we like Applegate)
  • Plantain chips*
  • Larabars or Kit’s Organic fruit and nut bars*
  • Epic bars and bites*
  • Applesauce packets*

*Note: these items are allowed for children, but not adults on the 21DSD.

erin-hollandIn 2004, after reading an article about gluten, Erin Holland decided to go gluten free and finally found some relief from the headaches and stomachaches she had experienced all her life. However, the continuous journey to health wasn’t over yet. While removing gluten provided much freedom from bodily aches and pains, Erin continued eating sugar, grains, and legumes and not feeling at the top of her game. By 2009, Erin began thinking for herself and listening to her body instead of believing the media and health and fitness magazines. Removing sugar, grains, and legumes proved to be the key to her success; eating real, whole food made sense and her body responded.

As a mom of two young girls, she strives to provide healthy food options and be a strong role model by regularly bringing them to her CrossFit gym or barre class. Erin’s passion is to encourage and educate others–especially moms–on their whole food journey by providing a path to remove the crutch of sugar and empty calories. Erin is a 21-Day Sugar Detox Certified Coach and is studying to be certified in Precision Nutrition.

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