5 Ways To Get Kids Involved With Healthier Eating
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”
Such idyllic phrases of simple enjoyment seem like socks lost in the laundry when it’s dinner time in a busy family home. Fun can be in short supply with children at your knees clamoring for “something GOOD to eat!”
Of course, “Good” typically means something tasty to them, but as a provider, "Good" may simply mean something tasty AND healthy.
Mealtime is often the witching hour for parents who are usually scheduled and disciplined. You get to the gym, you organize your day, you focus on good nutrition for your body and then….bam! It’s time to corral the little ones and get them to eat healthy too.
Not always an easy task...
Here are some simple ideas to get your kids on the right track to eating healthy.
1. Create The Rainbow – Young children can have fun with this one. Get them involved with the meal preparation process from the get-go. Take them to the grocery store – on a day when you aren’t at a dead sprint through the frozen food section – and give them their own salad bar container.
Have them make the most colorful dish they can, even if they claim to not like the veggies/fruits they're picking out. When it comes time to cooking and you're noticing the "picky eater" faces start to come out - - be that savvy parent and start hiding the colors of the rainbow into more appealing dishes like smoothies and soups.
2. Make Your Muffin Pan Your Secret Weapon - Forget the heavy, cereal-like muffins. Your pan can provide many other options for a healthy meal or snack on the go. Check out some of these muffin pan ideas:
- Make meatballs with diced vegetables
- Try an egg muffin recipe
- Check out this muffin tin food guide for more ideas!
Breakfast, lunch or dinner - you can make pretty much anything that can be used during your busy week. The great part? The kids love it!
3. Give Your Meals a Kabob Flair – Kids love food on a stick, so take a hint and throw variety in at mealtime. Give your kids choices of tasty items to fashion their own kabob. Help them build a chicken or pizza kabob with healthy add-ons.
Take it one step further to dessert and you can make any number of variations using fruit. Bananas, pineapple, strawberries and melon make ideal fruit kabob treats!
4. Make Mini a Big Hit – Miniature sized version of our favorite foods are always a big hit with the little ones. Build a make-your-own taco or burger bar with healthy elements that everyone will love. You could even prepare mini Ziploc bags with homemade trail mix or veggies for an easy snack. These are perfect on-the-go options that will keep even the busiest households fueled!
5. Don't Forget The Veggies... If you’ve got picky eaters at home, serving vegetables can often be a challenge. Yet there are ways to get your kids on the veggie train.
As the saying goes, “It’s all in the presentation”. Use some creativity and you may just find your kids asking for seconds. Need some inspiration? Try this fun recipe for tasty asparagus aptly named "Twigs in a Blanket," and this blueprint for a small bell pepper canoe.
With just a bit of motivation you can train your kids to not just enjoy healthy meals but actually ask for them too! If you have a strategy or dish that was especially helpful, post it on our Facebook page. We’d love for you to share it!