Providing children with healthy food can at times be difficult. Most parents feel challenged when trying to provide for the 5 x3 vegetables and fruit quota for their kids. They struggle and the more they do the more children are determined not to cooperate. Parents often feel guilty knowing their children need this quota for optimum health.
There is an answer and here are some great tips to get the veggies and fruit into our children and they will love you for it.
Watching a child help in the veggie garden is a delight. They just love to put the plant in the ground and watch it grow. Then the thrill of tasting the veggie especially if it is pleasant, for example peas, tomatoes or strawberries. This is a good way to introduce new veggies into the diet.
Children love helping Mum or Dad in the kitchen. Teach them how to peel the potatoes or an apple. This will also help them with their fine motor skills. Try using some cutting items to cut it into shapes and make it fun. When it is cooked ask the child to check if it is cooked and even taste it. This will reduce the drama at meal time as they will have an advanced tasting session.
Try a lamb shank bone with lots of veggies in it especially potatoes. You could use almost any veggies in it including spinach, carrots, turnips, pumpkin, etc. A good way to go is to blend the veggies together with the potato providing the thickening. Another alternative is to add some alphabet noodles cut into animal shapes. The kids get so engrossed in the interesting animals they hardly notice they have eaten the soup.
Try steaming the veggies and sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Most kids love cheese and when it melts into the veggies they find the veggies are much easier to eat.
Mixing with other foods
Spaghetti Bolognaise is a typical meal children love. Add veggies to the meat sauce and the children will not even realize it is there. A good example of this is grated carrot, zucchini, pumpkin etc.
One at a time
Introduce one veggie at a time and see how they react. If they like one veggie less than another then its probably not a good idea to give it to them again for awhile. Try changing the taste a little, for example carrots – pour a little honey over them next time and I think it will be a really popular move.
Take the child shopping and let them help you choose the veggies and when you might have them. Bring them into managing the meals roster giving them a sense of belonging and sharing.
If all else fails then it might come down to rewards. Having something they like for dessert is a great motivator or even lemonade once they have finished their veggies works wonders. Since veggies are usually served during the evening meal it is not a good idea to give children flavored or colored drinks especially close to bed time.
Most kids love smoothies and will often nag parents for one when they go shopping. Parents do not have to go shopping for a smoothie as it can be made at home providing another way to camouflage the fruit and veggies. So what do we put into a smoothie that takes away the flavor of vegetables that kids always seem to recognize?