You may be having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy foods. For some kids, just the phrase "healthy food" brings on the "yucky" face. However, there are some tricks and tips for getting your kids to eat healthily and loving it. Here are some ideas to get your family started on the road to healthy eating.
Veggies in Disguise
There are all sorts of ways to sneak vegetables into everyday foods. Try some of these:
· Steam and puree carrots, winter squash, or sweet potatoes and stir them into a cheese sauce.
· Put a jar of spaghetti sauce into the blender. Add lightly steamed veggies and whiz them into the spaghetti sauce.
· Mince broccoli and add it to the toppings on homemade pizza.
Replace One Thing at a Time
It's understandable for kids not to want to eat healthy food if they suddenly go from frozen chicken nuggets to something totally new, like quinoa. Instead, try transitioning slowly, replacing one food at a time. Here are some tips.
· Replace whole-wheat flour with white. You can do this in all sorts of ways - replace your pasta with whole-wheat pasta, for instance, and your bread with whole wheat bread. Even better, start making your own bread instead of buying it at the store. Slowly replace store-bought grain items with whole grain options, from cereal to bread to crackers.
· Make your own fish and chicken nuggets from whole meat that's been cut into bite-sized pieces. Coated in bread crumbs and baked in the oven, these healthy versions are just as tasty.
· Mix less healthy food with healthy food to make the transition easier. For instance, begin by replacing 1/3 or so of white rice with brown or wild rice. Then gradually increase the brown rice.
Read books on healthy eating, and about how the body needs healthy food to grow. There are books available for just about any age on this subject, and many kids find it quite inspiring once they understand how their body works. Take a little time to teach your kids why we need healthy food.
Food Is Positive
Try approaching food in a positive way. Have your kids help in the kitchen if you can; when they "own" a food or dish they may be more likely to eat it. As you work in the kitchen, talk to your kids about the important nutrients within the foods you're preparing. To keep things positive, it may not be a good idea to get into a big battle - try to keep it upbeat and, if you can, remove "dessert" from the premises!