Every mother knows that fruits and greens are good for a growing child. She also knows the challenge to get a toddler or a primary aged child to choose beans and berries over chicken nuggets and Froot Loops. It is not a surprise that most kids are not eating a healthy diet, and mothers are out of ideas to make the change. Well, they are ways to turn your child into a healthy eater without turning yourself into a nutrition police. Here are some reality-tested tips from other mothers.
Starting from Snacks
When you think “snack”, chips and cookies are probably at the top of your child’s mind. Obviously, those colored treats usually are not your best nutritious selections. Check the product labels for unhealthy stuff like trans fats, excess sugar or salt and artificial ingredients. This also teaches older children to recognise healthier food choices that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Better yet, limit the traditional snack foods altogether and give your child snack-size portions of regular mealtime foods. Halve a sandwich and share with your child. Frozen yogurt with fruits make a great replacement for ice creams. Try porridge with banana slices and cocoa powder as a yummy treat. Not only are these foods good for your child, you will also benefit from sharing these healthy snacks with your child.
Let food be fun
When your mum always stops you from playing with your foods, well, she may be wrong. Making food fun not only fun, nutritionists confirm that it encourages kids to be adventurous diners.
Have a few fun shaped cookie cutters around the kitchen – even if you don’t bake – can be a meal saver. Arranging food in fun shapes or smiley faces on your child’s plate and provide an assortment of dips, sauces and toppings for salads, potatoes and noodles will help your child enjoy his or her food a lot more.
Be creative with the “meal games” and let your imagination (and your child’s) run wild when enjoying your healthy meals. See in awe when your child chew “leaves” off the broccoli “trees” and when they chow down on carrots when you challenge them to see who make the loudest crunch.
Involving in the kitchen
A good way to encourage your kid to try new food is to give then a say in what they’re eating. Let them pick out items at the supermarket and enlist their aid in the kitchen entice them to venture beyond chicken nuggets and macaroni cheese.
Start with simple and kid-friendly recipes so as not to discourage your kid before they fall in love with the activity. If your kids are chocolate lovers, let them indulge in fondue. Let them cut up (with your supervision) their favorite fruits (banana, strawberries, pears, etc.), break up the chocolates and melting them in the fondue set.
Make pizzas from mini muffins, pita bread or make your own base, topped with healthier sauce like pumpkin puree, mozzarella, parmesan and lean meats. Kids feel important when they’re asked to pitch in, because they take pride in the finish product.
This way, they are more likely to have an open mind about eating the food they see on their plates. Time spent at the supermarket and the kitchen also teaches kids to make healthy food choices, and their math and reading skills get a boost too.