Two kids peering over the edge of the table at a plate of chocolate-chip cookies.

Family Health

I Feed My Kids Too Healthy: Finding Balance in Healthy Eating

May 2, 2017

I try to feed my kids as healthy as I can. I don’t bake with sugar, flour or butter; I don’t buy junk food; and I strut around the kitchen like a peacock when I’ve packed them a lunch filled with fruits and vegetables. But recently my son caught me off guard.

“Can you please make chocolate chip cookies,” he asked shyly, so as not to offend me. “The kind that taste good and don’t have flax and oatmeal,” he clarified.

He was also hopeful that if everyone at an upcoming birthday party was eating junk, he might be allowed some, too. I felt so ashamed of myself in that moment. Had I gone overboard in my health kick? Had I really deprived my boys of the chance to be like every other kid?

Well, turns out that healthy eating is all about balance.

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Joanna Biafore and Marketa Mervart are the founders of the fermented food company Just Shut Up and Try It Ferments. They each have two boys and know how hard it can be to ensure their kids eat well in an environment where colourful character-themed boxes of junk food line the grocery store shelves.

“It’s okay to have treats sometimes,” says Mervart. On days they know they’re going to a birthday party, they are sure to start their day with a healthy breakfast. 

I felt so ashamed of myself in that moment. Had I really deprived my boys of the chance to be like every other kid?

Big believers in health benefits of foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, they get their kids involved in fermenting foods, they top their burgers with sauerkraut, and they keep getting their kids to try healthy foods until eventually their taste buds develop and the habits stick.

“Some parents stress themselves out so much about what their kids are eating that they make themselves sick,” says Biafore. “That’s why it’s all about balance.”

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That said, there are some easy ways to make treats even healthier when baking at home. You can reduce the amount of sugar called for in any recipe or add neutral-tasting veggies, like pureed spinach, to certain recipes, and you can experiment with different kinds of flour, such as quinoa flour, almond flour, a bean-blended flour, or any ancient grain. 

And your kids will probably be none the wiser.

So, I loaded up on ingredients and made my boys chocolate-chip cookies with nutritious almond flour. One loved them and the other thought they were meh, though he appreciated my effort.

I will keep baking treats the way I like until their taste buds develop. But when they go to a party and eat junk food with their friends, I will let go and watch them enjoy it.

Serving them a healthy breakfast that morning will make me feel a little better.

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Article Author Erin Silver
Erin Silver

Read more from Erin here.

Erin Silver is a freelance writer and blogger whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, The Globe and Mail, and many other national magazines and newspapers. A single mom, she is hard at work on her first book about the adventures of divorce and single parenthood. Visit her online at

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