39: Melanie Folstad on healthy eating for kids even with a busy schedule


Melanie Folstad, aka @cleanlittleplates, is a mom that loves to serve up delicious, real food to her little ones. She encourages other parents to get their children on board with healthy eating as well. The methods she uses are proof that healthy ‘adult’ food can easily be tasty meals for children too. Her presence on Instagram inspires parents all over to nourish their children with real, whole foods. 

 Journey…2:10

  • When she was younger, Melanie found herself struggling to embrace food and was restricting herself; like many women do. Melanie became interested in the health industry while she was in University. She learned more about exercise, wellness, and overall health and found herself in a much better place. Having kids also humbled her. Seeing her body go through such big changes encouraged her to find new ways to incorporate healthy living. Understanding food and what it does for the body has helped her get to where she is today.

Clean Little Plates…4:20

  • One thing that sets her Instagram account apart from others is the fact that it truly is real life. The idea of her account started when she noticed that moms were asking her how she got her kids to eat what they were eating at daycare or preschool. Instead of texting all of her friends the recipe, she created her Instagram account and it has grown tremendously.

Common Questions…6:30

  • How do you get your kid to eat that? Start your kids early. Limit convenient snacks and processed foods. When you compete with processed foods, homemade meals taste differently. Offer new foods with old foods you know they love. It is also important to be a good example; model what you expect from your kids. Melanie makes the same thing for her kids that she makes for her dinner. It may be messy, but bring the kids into the kitchen with you. They will want to taste what they made and will love to be involved. 

Nutritional Philosophy…9:00

  • A lot of her recipes are plant-based, not because they are vegetarian, but because veggies are usually harder to get kids to eat. She knows her kids will have no problem eating cheeses or having a glass of milk so she puts her focus on vegetables. Melanie is refined sugar-free, but finds ways to make treats that her kids adore! 

Exercise Preference…10:50

  • Melanie loves group fitness. She will occasionally do home workouts. These encourage her kids and sets a good example to them. They know that exercise is important as well as healthy eating.

What’s ahead?…13:50

  • A cookbook is a dream. Running the Instagram account is enough for her plate at the moment. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see all of Melanie’s recipes in one spot?!

 Biggest hurdles for healthy kids…15:50

  • The food marketing industry does nothing to encourage healthy eating. The boxes with tons of sugar are bright, fun, and offer prizes. Healthier options are boring and do not grab the buyer’s attention like the high-sugar options. 

Strategies to be prepared…16:50

  • Melanie food preps versus meal prepping. She will have veggies, meats, or fruits chopped, sliced, skinned etc. This way she can throw snacks or meals together quickly without spending tons of time in the kitchen each day. She will do some batch cooking such as making extra quinoa to use throughout the week. Melanie also has been enjoying overnight oats to keep it simple, quick and healthy amidst morning chaos.

Advice for a busy person to start eating healthy… 19:30

  • Buy some vegetables, wash them, cut them, and store them. This is an easy and convenient snack to get started. Even if you dip them in ranch, at least you and your kids are getting your vegetables in!

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