It seems today that kids are in a rut with eating the same things over and over again. Growing kids can’t live on French fries, pizza, and hot dogs alone. The key to pleasing any kids’ palate is to make the meal fun for them and not to let them know when they’re eating right.
Here are five healthy foods for your kids.
Nuts and Seeds
For in between meal snacks, feed your kids a handful of nuts. Not only are they rich in several important vitamins, but nuts provide vast amounts of proteins and amino acids. The variety of legume nuts and tree nuts offers variety to any snack with almonds, pecans, peanuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, and others. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids which are essential in kids’ growth.
Instead of treating kids to a piece of candy, cookies, or cake, assuage their sweet tooth with nature’s own sweet things. Kids will eat what you have available, so keep a bowl of fresh fruit in their reach or in the refrigerator. Apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, watermelon are easy “finger-type” foods that will satisfy their craving. Also, fruits are high in potassium, vitamin C, and calcium which aids in their development.
Kids love pasta and there’s nothing that will satisfy their hunger more than a plate of spaghetti. However, you can feed them a nutritious meal without them even knowing. Star with wheat or spinach pasta and use more natural sauces. Avoid the over-sugary stuff in the stores. Also, you can “sneak” vegetables into your kids’ spaghetti by finely chopping onions, mushrooms, olives, and/or peppers. Add large chunks of lean ground beef and your kids will be asking for seconds.
Most every restaurant kid’s menu will offer chicken fingers and fries. What kid wouldn’t love this? At home, you can serve them the same full-flavor without the added fat. By baking breaded chicken, you greatly reduce the fat content of frying. You can also make your own chicken fingers by rolling raw chicken tenders from the store in plain yogurt and then covering in crushed corn flakes or panko bread crumbs. Coat with a cooking spray and bake for the same yummy taste as the fried version. Kick things up with a low fat ranch dressing or barbeque sauce for dipping and your kids won’t miss the grease at all.
It’s almost an oxymoron, but vegetables can be made fun for kids. Instead of forcing the food on them as something they have to have, make it interesting. Teach them the origin of certain foods. Have them help plate what’s for dinner, matching foods by color. Serve smoothies that incorporate both fruits and vegetables in a less “threatening” way to their taste buds. Add vegetables to more traditional foods like carrot or zucchini muffins, or as said before, into spaghetti sauce. Another idea is to start a vegetable garden and get your kids involved. The more they work with and learn about vegetables, the less “scary” they’ll be on their plate. Introduce vegetables to them through a chopped platter of small bites of carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and mushrooms, with healthy dip to accompany. And finally, reward your kids for trying new things. Remember, their palates aren’t as developed as an adult’s so make food nutrition fun and it will go a long way to your kids’ health.