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The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis…And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

July 18, 2015

YES our kids are bombarded from every direction with marketing schemes from the processed food industry, but I think we can have a bigger influence with what is served at home – especially when it tastes this good!

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!So can we talk kids and veggies a little today?


I know it. There is nothing more frustrating that a kid that throws a fit about eating something you know is good for them.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!But listen. We have a major crisis today. Many kids literally have no idea what it means to eat well. Sure, most certainly aren’t “hungry,” but by “well” I mean eating food that will fuel their bodies so well that it functions and operates the way it is supposed to. We wonder why our kids are moody, tired, or hyper, and yet simply filling children with real minerals directly from the source (veggies!) is a huge start to helping these children balance. (I may also know a few adults who fall into this category as well…ahem…)

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!I walk the isles of the grocery store, watch the commercials on the TV, hear the children on the playground…and we can do better. These are *YOUR* kids the commercials are marketing to. These are *YOUR* kids being bombarded with every brightly colored fun box of cartoon characters riddled with every brain altering food dye and chemical you can think of.

And hear this! *I* was one of those kids. Yes, my friends, I am no spring chicken…which means this has been going on far too long. I made a promise to myself that I would do better for my kids than what is offered today. I made a promise that I would be the one to learn to cook and learn to like vegetables.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!Did you hear that part?

Yes I had to learn to like veggies. I didn’t grow up on very many. Sure we had salads almost every night for dinner, but as far as variety goes, it just wasn’t there. I want you to hear that I have had zero formal cooking training – I didn’t even really help in the kitchen much growing up.

Why do I want you to hear that? Because I want you to know that you can do this. This isn’t rocket science (or The Iron Chef!). This is real food being cooked the right way to make it taste amazing.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!Yes, I realize that especially for those kids who have already had a taste of processed food, I am majorly competing with flavor. I’m up for the challenge. And guess what? I’m thinking that once the processed food isn’t available as a choice, they’ll get used to a new way of eating. And while we can still have some fun food done in a real food way like real food Mac N Cheese, real potato chips, real food pizza, and real food sloppy joes, it is just really a good idea to have those palates used to veggies too.

So let’s ease into this thing. I’m not saying revamp your entire meal plan *right now*. Let’s start with one meal a day – say dinner. I’ve got 3 delicious, super kid friendly in taste stir fry meals with loads of veg variety that I think will do the trick!

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The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

Sweet & Sour Power!

This is an Asian inspired stir fry that will give those bland veggies a sweet makeover! Serve this over organic long grain white rice with butter.

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Sweet & Sour Stir Fry
  1. Make your sweet and sour sauce and set aside - I usually have it simmer while I'm chopping the veg.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl, coat the chicken with olive oil, and then use the flour mixture to coat the chicken. Fry the breaded chicken in a pan with a good ¼ cup friendly fat (butter, leftover bacon grease, lard, coconut oil). Set the breaded chicken aside.
  3. Saute the onion in a few TB friendly fat and a big pinch of sea salt over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally. The salt will bring out the juices in the onion and sweeten it up.
  4. Add the garlic and peas, combine, and cook about 5 minutes until the peas soften up a bit.
  5. Add the carrot shreds and cook until soft - should only take a few minutes.
  6. Add the sweet and sour sauce and cooked/breaded chicken and stir to combine. Add the green onion and serve over organic long grain white rice, jasmine rice, or plain. Leftovers pack well in a lunchbox thermos!


Garden Party!

 Take the kids for a visit to the farmer’s market if it is the season for it and let them pick out what is in season – the sky is the limit here! I included what is in season by me right now but you can definitely switch this up. I left some hints on how I shop for these veggies in the middle of winter too.

The key is to get some very palatable veggies mixed in with the more bland – things like tomatoes and carrots will sweeten things up a bit especially when they are cooked the right way. And while corn is considered a grain, if you find a GMO free source (I use Costco’s organic frozen corn), I think it makes a great addition to up the kid friendly anty.

To make this more of a complete meal you can add shredded chicken from your crockpotted chicken, or stir in some cooked quinoa!

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Garden Party Stir Fry
  • ¼ cup butter to cook in
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ small/medium head of cabbage, sliced thin (This was from our local grocer)
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped (We get fresh organic carrots in bulk at Costco)
  • 1 cup cut green beans (These were from our garden, but in the off season we use Costco's frozen organic)
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped (We get organic frozen broccoli at Costco)
  • 4 small red potatoes, cubed (Our grocer carries organic potatoes)
  • 1 cup organic corn (This was from a non-GMO farmer at our market but in the off season we use Costco's organic frozen corn)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (When we don't use our garden tomatoes, our grocer carries organic tomatoes)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme (I have potted herbs but dried works just fine!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh chives to garish
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat and put the onion, cabbage, carrots, green beans, broccoli, potatoes, and corn into the melted butter with a big pinch of sea salt and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until everything cooks down and softens. (The cabbage seems like a lot at first but I promise it cooks down a lot!)
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they soften and let their juices out to make a sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped chives if you want - or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!

Oodles of Italian Buttered Noodles!

A spirilizer can make a noodle out of just about any veggie, and I swear the texture and feel of a noodle just makes you want to eat more! My biggest issue with spirilizing veggies in my house is that there is never enough!

This is one of my staple dinners we have almost weekly and it never gets old – it comes together so fast too. You can add organic spaghetti sauce for more of a spaghetti night feel too!

The Real Food Vs. Processed Food Crisis...And 3 Stir Fry Meals That Will Have Your Kids Gladly Eating Their Veggies!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Italian Buttered Noodles
  • ¼ cup or so butter to cook in
  • 2 small/medium onions, chopped
  • ½ lb organic white mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup cooked chicken (You can use more if you wish. I use my crockpot or oven roaster to cook multiple whole chickens at one time so I always have cubed, cooked chicken in the freezer for quick meals!)
  • 2 medium zucchini, spirilized
  • 2 medium yellow/summer squash, spirilized
  • 1 TB dry basil or a handful of fresh chopped basil
  • ½ cup parmesan (or other raw cheese) plus more to garnish the top
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute the onion and mushroom in the butter over medium/high heat with a big pinch of sea salt to bring out their juices and sweeten for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chicken and cook for a few minutes until the tomato juices start coming out and make a sauce. You can garnish with grated Parmesan.

For more nourishing meal ideas check out my Nourishing Staples board on Pintrest!

More real food recipes you might like:

Crockpot Or Oven Roaster Chicken For FAST Weekday Meals

Parmesan Baked Zucchini Spears

landscapeThe *Best* Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes

The Best Way To Spirilize & Cook Sweet Potatoes!Light & Crispy Kale Chips

Simple Tips For Light & Crispy Kale Chips Everytime!



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  • Reply Jessica July 19, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I love this post. So, so awesome and the stir fries look so good. I can’t wait to try a few this week.

  • Reply Megan Stevens July 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Oh my goodness, those Italian Buttered Noodles!!! They look amazing and I so love all you said. We live it and love it! 🙂

  • Reply Raine Saunders July 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Great post Renee! I also had not much teaching in the kitchen when I was growing up. That’s because my poor mother tried, but I wasn’t interested, and my dad insisted that I didn’t need to learn if I didn’t want to. 🙂 I am going to share this and pin it! Thank you for writing this!

  • Reply Marjorie July 21, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Great post. I love the information that you are sharing here. And the buttered noodles…I want them right now!! Yum!!

  • Reply Ariana {And Here We Are...} July 21, 2015 at 9:14 am

    This is great! Although I grew up eating a lot of different veggies, it was because we were overseas and had a cook who knew how to prepare them well. And it’s true that grownups can totally become converts– the list of foods my husband had an aversion to when we got married was LONG. But now they are actually some of his favorite foods (like sweet potatoes!) Cooking today is like a superpower. You can really create seriously delicious meals, with a few basic skills.

  • Reply linda spiker July 21, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Oh goodness Rene each of these look amazing! I shared and pinned and I am sure I will share again. Great post!

  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish July 21, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Love this post! Such thoughtful wise words. And those buttered noodles at the end, yes please! Yum!

  • Reply Melissa French, The More With Less Mom July 21, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    There are so many foods that I notice my kids reacting to! This is no joke. Give my littlest anything with red dye in it and she’ll still be wired the next day.

    • Reply Renee Kohley July 22, 2015 at 6:30 am

      I think that is a more common reaction than is given on many accounts. Some just don’t notice it!

  • Reply Karissa July 21, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Great post – I, too, had to learn to love veggies! My mom was a good cook but we definitely still had our fair share of processed meals.

    • Reply Renee Kohley July 22, 2015 at 6:32 am

      Karissa that is similar to my situation growing up too 🙂 We had cooked dinners every night, we sat down as a family together – its just the majority of the food was processed in some form. She is super supportive of all I have learned at this point though and has made many changes 🙂

  • Reply Mindy Benkert July 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

    This is such an important issue! I struggle a lot with having older kids who would rather eat the processed foods. 🙁 I can’t wait to try these recipes!

    • Reply Renee Kohley July 23, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Mindy! I hope you can find something that they love! I know it must be harder with the older kids – I very much understand that. The best part is that maybe they stray away for a while but I bet they come back to your nourishing ways as they get older and more mature 🙂

  • Reply Rachel July 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

    We just tried the Garden Party stir fry last night and my husband said, “Contact her and thank her for me”, he loved the recipe that much! 🙂 Even managed to get some of those veggies into my five year old thanks to the enticing addition of the cabbage and potatoes. Love your recipes, and thank you so much for the Chinese food ones, I was really missing that with our switch to real food.

    • Reply Renee Kohley July 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      Aww, hey – that totally makes my day! Thank you for letting us know!

  • Reply The Food Hunter July 29, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Great post! I’ve always been a veggie eater but it didn’t make stopping the processed foods any easier. Today I am glad that I don’t eat processed. It is so easy to make your own!!

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