As a mom of two naughty sons, the daily battle I have on my hands is to get them to eat healthy. We all know that vegetables and fruits are powerhouses of vitamins and minerals, but one look at them, and they want to push the plate away. Short of having daily wars at the dining table, it doesn’t seem likely that they will eat the nutritious stuff. And, I don’t want them to dread dinner times. So what is the way out? These are the tricks that I’ve used with great
success to get my kids to eat healthy. I hope you can benefit from them as well.
Sneak in the good stuff
You can add fruits and even veggies to Smoothies and no one would know. A bright green smoothie can get them all excited. You can use spinach or kale along with fruits like bananas, mangoes, papaya, apple, berries or try various other fruit-veggie combinations to whip up tasty smoothies that they will love to have. You can add honey instead
of sugar. Soups are a great, yummy way for them to consume vegetables. Boil vegetables like carrots, beans, spinach, peas, mushrooms, broccoli, beetroots or sauté them in butter and then purée them. Make sure that the quantities of those with distinct taste like broccoli or cauliflower are kept reasonable or else their taste can be quite overpowering. This can be added to the base of your soup. With some good seasonings, your veggies are all there, well concealed in that tasty soup that is super nutritious. You can do this to almost any type of soup except the clear ones. And, if you add lentils, you can further enhance the quality of the soup.
Set an example
A child mirrors what they see more than what they hear. If the parents consume loads of junk food in the form of chips, packaged beverages, soda, sugary treats, fries, or eat out at unhealthy joints often, then they can be assured that the kids will follow right on. Remember to not stock unhealthy foods at home. It is too much temptation for the kids.
In a similar vein, keep healthy options like fruits and nuts easily accessible and visible for those times when hunger strikes. Also, keep eating out and junk food for only once a week strictly for the entire family.
Cook at home
I know it sounds difficult especially if you have a day job and young kids at home, but give this a try when you find time at hand. Cooking can be quite relaxing too. Normally calorie-rich foods that kids dig like pasta, pizza, chicken nuggets, cookies, and cakes are tastier and healthier when prepared with fresh ingredients at home. Always remember to sneak in healthier options in food wherever possible, for example, use whole-wheat flour for home-made pizza base, whole-wheat or multi-grain bread for sandwiches, chicken strips that are baked instead of fried, cakes that use fruit in place of sugar, and home-made muesli with less sugar and more nuts, rolled oats, wheat and corn flakes etc. Browse the net or seek recipes from friends for innovative, healthy recipes.
Eat together at the dining table
Discourage eating while watching television or reading. Eat together at the table. This ensures that the child sees the food being eaten, chews it, and enjoys the experience related with food. This prevents mindless eating and reduces chances of bad eating habits and childhood obesity. It also helps you to bond better as a family.
Respect their choices
If your child really hates a certain vegetable or the taste of milk, try to find your way around that. If it is one or two vegetables, then you can avoid those altogether for your child. If it is all veggies they dislike, then try the sneaking in tricks mentioned above. For milk, try adding healthy additives or fruit etc. to make it yummy and palatable. Also,
incorporate their suggestions. They will be more amenable to trying out something new and healthy that they have suggested.
These are simple tips that you can give a try! You might just be surprised to find your kids eating healthy after all without a fuss. Here’s to a healthy and happy family.
Moms or dads out there — what are your tips and tricks to getting your kids to eat healthy?!
Rachna Parmar is a mother of two, avid blogger, enthusiastic cook, and editor at Livesnet. You can read her reviews about Cuisinart elite collection food processor and breville bje510xl juicer — your most valuable kitchen companions at the Livesnet website.