For many parents, buying and preparing healthy foods is pretty easy. It’s getting your child to actually eat those nutritious foods that’s the hard part! This makes mealtimes frustrating and leaves parents often wondering if their child is getting enough nutrients.
It’s tough, and that’s completely understandable. How then do we raise our little lambs to be healthy and strong if they continue to deny us?
Here are 5 tips to tricking your children into eating healthy:
1. Vegetables must now become masters of disguise
If you put steamed vegetables on a plate in front of a child, chances are, he or she will eat around it, they’ll poke at it, and they’ll do everything but eat it.
To fix this problem, disguise those vegetables in their meals. When making rice, you can chop up those very same vegetables and cook them with the rice; carrots, broccoli, cauliflower; all these can be incorporated. Instead of using regular rice, why not use cauliflower as a rice substitute? Throw a head or two of the cauliflower into the food processor and allow it to be chopped fine until its consistency resembles that of rice. Add your seasonings and spices to enhance the flavor and create a salivating appeal. Pair it with some baked sweet potato wedges and some oven-fried chicken wedges.
2. Eating is a social affair
Allow them to be involved in the preparation process. Children are curious, and at this tender age, they learn through practical examples. Let them get their hands dirty; they will feel a sense of self-pride when they consume the things their hands have created. Whether it be something as simple as smoothies or dried fruit and nut cookies; do not deprive them of being part of the healthy food process.
3. Be the role model
Children tend to mimic the things that we, the adults, do.
If they see us gulping down soda after a long day at work; they’re going to come home from school and head to the refrigerator with their tiny little feet. They’ll reach for a soda can and down it in one go, just like mommy and daddy did!
Make it your business to enjoy the fruits and vegetables with them, if they see their mother or father having fruit as a snack, they’ll want it too. When daddy asks mommy to pass the vegetables, they’ll ask mommy to pass them the vegetables too.
4. Be creative as presentation is everything
Give them an apple or a banana as it is and they’ll certainly look at it with disdain. Kids are funny like that. Cut it into interesting shapes and pair it with items like peanut butter and jelly and they’ll tell you a story while they lick their fingers clean! Fruits are blank canvases; you can turn them into fun little critters or adored cartoon characters that your children will be more than happy to consume.
5. Give them the choice
Let children have the option to choose the fruits and vegetables they like. You should not over-lecture or over-control your kids in their food choices. This can often lead to rebellious behavior. Freedom in the kitchen is good but also be the subtle guides and steer them to the healthy options- subtly!