Everyone can relate…. as a parent you are constantly trying to find healthy foods your child will eat. I love the “vegetable wins” at dinner when I prepare a vegetable and my kids actually love it. Then I think I’ve prepared it the same exact way a few days later and this time they think its a fail. What did I do wrong?…I really feel mindset and presentation have a lot to do with kids liking food. The more I involve my kids in dinner decisions, the more they like it. I also believe that if you start from the ground up then they really enjoy the foods I give them. By this I mean, plant it together and they will eat it. My kids walk through the garden and eat as many veggies as they can. If I were to offer them those same veggies, store bought, they would turn their nose up to them. Involvement is the key here!
We all have been caught sneaking veggies into our kids food. I have found it is very easy to sneak veggies into pasta dishes, spaghetti sauces, and potatoes. I have been chopping veggies very small and adding them to my spaghetti sauce. Cauliflower mashed potatoes have been a smashing success. Any type of pasta dish as long as I make it a beautiful presentation. We have also been trying to switch to more of a vegan diet. We have been serving the kids Beyond Burgers, beyond them realizing. I try to add fun toppings or toast the bun special so there is a distraction from any change in the burger patty.
Are your kids always hungry? Mine are too. A simple fix is to buy cute reusable kids plates for a little fun and set up an ongoing buffet. I have fruits and veggies available at all times so they cannot complain about being hungry. Over time they have learned that is the only option at the moment so if they’re really hungry they’ll eat the healthy snack.
Are you interested in trying gardening with your kids but are afraid of failure? I would suggest starting simple and building your confidence. Kale is a very easy plant to grow and has amazing taste, homegrown. Even my pickiest eaters were eating it right out of the garden. Kale has so many health benefits and contain fiber, antioxidants, vitamins C and K, iron, and other nutrients and antioxidants. It is one of my favorite veggies to get into my kids diets. Peppers and tomatoes are also good ways to get into gardening. Just make sure you give them enough space to grow and trim the bottom branches to keep the plant strong and disease free.
Let’s finish on a sweet note… dessert. Some people would recommend eating dessert first, as long as it is a healthy one. Studies have shown you tend to consume fewer calories if you start with dessert. Starting with something indulgent first tends to make people choose healthier choices during the meal. It also allows your body more time to burn off the indulgent treat. What are healthy dessert options you may ask. Vegan ice cream is a great option. Some of our favorite ice cream comes from 73 year old vegan expert, Karyn Calabrese, www.karynraw.com. She offers many flavors but my favorite for a little energy boost is spirulina. She also suggests eating dessert first because of the way it digests in the system. If you eat it at the end it can ferment and cause gas and bloating. Another fun and delicious option are fruit kabobs drizzled with dark chocolate. This can be a hands on project to build your own kabob and drizzle your own toppings. There are many healthy cookie and muffin recipes that I will include later. One of my kids favorite is a raw energy ball.
The final buzz on this topic…at the moment we cannot control everything that is going on in the world, but we can control what we put in our body. Now is the perfect time to build strong healthy children with good habits. We all have a little more time right now. Take the time to restructure your diet. Try out new recipes and gradually start changing your way of eating and thinking!