Crunchy moms, Cool moms, Pinterest moms- there’s almost as many kinds of mom’s out there as there are, well, mom’s! We’ve all got our own way of doing things, but we each have the same goal in mind- doing the best we can to give our kids a happy and healthy childhood! Right now in the world of holistic health the spotlight is on the immune and digestive health benefits of probiotics.
Does this sound familiar?
You’re trying to make a grocery list. There’s a toddler crying because he can’t fit all 64 crayons into his hand at once, and the baby is playing in the dog food dish, again. Just as she gets a piece to her mouth you sweep it out and think; at least she’s working on that immune system!
It can’t be just me, right?
I often find myself wondering why is it that my kids will put dog food and dirt in their mouths, but whine at the sight of my home-made (and probiotic filled!) sauerkraut, or refuse to drink the milk that I tried (but apparently failed) to secretly mix with a supplement.
So, how are you supposed to get these good bacteria into your kids? I’m glad you asked!
7 DIY Ways to Get Your Kid to Eat (and like!) Probiotics:
1. Treat Them to Probiotic Popsicles
Kefir is traditionally a creamy, cultured dairy product made from cow or goat’s milk that’s full of beneficial yeast and probiotic bacteria. Water kefir is the same concept, but made from a base of sugar, water, and fruit. To make probiotic popsicles, make your water kefir with fresh-squeezed juice from your favorite fruit instead of water. Pour your fruit kefir mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze…so simple! For more excitement, pour your fruit juice kefir into the blender, throw in some raspberries, and blend to combine before freezing in the popsicle molds. Alternatively you can also use milk kefir blended with fresh fruit juice (add back in a little of the pulp for fiber) to make homemade "ice cream" for the kids and pouring into popsicle molds and freezing too.
2. Enlist Their Help in Making Water Kefir
Piggy-backing off the popsicle suggestion, have your kids help you make water kefir. You can find instructions here. Trust me, they’ll love to strain it!
3. Whip Up a Power Smoothie
Take this stuff, throw it in your blender, and voila:
1 frozen banana
½ cup of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, whatever!)
½ cup kombucha or water
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
¼ avocado, ripe
powdered probiotic (measure per manufacturer’s instructions)
1 Tbsp. honey (or more!)
Add extra liquid or honey if needed to alter consistency.
Your kids will start to come running like Pavlov’s dogs every time you fire up the blender. Seriously. The best part about smoothies is that they’re easily customizable: Add a nut butter for extra protein, grind up some flax seed for constipation, or throw in half an avocado for a dose of brain-boosting healthy fats. Using multiple sources of probiotics (like kefir, yogurt, and a powdered supplement) will ensure they’re being exposed to a variety of good bacteria.
4. Frozen Yogurt. Literally.
Buy (or make!) some whole-milk yogurt. Portion it into ice cube trays and stash in the freezer. The frozen cubes of yogurt are perfect, not to mention convenient, to toss into a smoothie! This is a win for getting healthy fat, protein, and probiotics into you your little ones.
5. Sauerkraut Juice…Just Bear with Me Here
I swear it’s not as bad as it sounds. And you only need a teaspoon! Throw it into their juice or lemonade before you sit down to dinner. They’ll have no idea. If you have a nursing infant you can syringe feed it into their mouth when nursing. Or if bottle fed just add a teaspoon to their formula.
6. Culture Their Condiments
Salsa, ketchup, mustard, relish, hummus… the options are endless! To keep it simple, just mix some brine into the condiment and let it sit. If you’re more the Pinterest-y type, you can find some cultured condiment recipes here and here.
7. Be the Change
Take a que from Gandhi and make the first move. If you want to see your kids excited about fermented foods, model enthusiasm! Even if you yourself are feeling unsure about a particular food’s taste, be enthusiastic to give it a try. Snap some photos of your adventurous eaters to send to Grandma. Or Facebook. Whatever works!