Guest Post: Cassie from ehealthinformer
Getting kids to eat healthily can sometimes be a challenge. Some parents even resort to hiding vegetables in sweets and other recipes just so they can ensure their children are getting enough servings every day. Though this isn’t a bad idea, there are other ways to get your kids interested in healthy eating.
First, try a variety of foods, even ones that are unfamiliar to you. Teaching your children about gardening can be helpful as will getting your children involved in cooking; it will keep them interested and open to the idea of trying new foods.
Certain nutritious foods are more versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes, so even picky eaters won’t pass them up! Here are four that your kids will love.
Fruit is basically nature’s candy, so it’s usually easy to get kids interested in eating it. Berries are one of the best to include in your children’s diet. Not only are they packed with antioxidants that combat free radicals, but they’re also low in sugar compared to other fruits.
For breakfast, consider making smoothies or adding berries to pancake or muffin batter. It’s simple to make jams or sauces from blackberries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries as well, which can top oatmeal or be stirred into plain yogurt for a healthier alternative to flavored yogurts that contain a lot of added sugar.
Since berries are a good source of vitamin C, which is heat-sensitive, you’ll want to ensure they’re eaten raw sometimes too. Freezing is not as likely to decrease the amount of vitamin C they contain, so consider adding berries to frozen treats if your kids won’t eat them raw. You can mix them with coconut water, yogurt or juice and freeze in popsicle molds for dessert or as a snack.
Avocado may not be a favorite for some kids—at least at first—but your children will quickly take a liking to it when it’s added to recipes. If your kids haven’t tried it yet, they might like it in in the form of chocolate pudding (I know avocado pudding sounds crazy, but trust me on this one!).
Avocados contain carotenoids, antioxidants that are especially important for cardiovascular and eye health. They’re also rich in folate and fiber, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Even better, they’re versatile enough to be eaten any time of the day.
For breakfast, add avocado to your kids’ favorite smoothies, spread it on toast or add it to breakfast burritos. For lunch or dinner, replace mayonnaise in egg or chicken salad with avocado and Greek yogurt or add pureed avocado and herbs to pasta.
Though starchy, white potatoes are a good source of B6 and potassium; and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, as well as several other nutrients. Both will add fiber to your children’s diets, and since there are a lot of different varieties of potatoes available, they can be suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.
Purple potatoes, in particular, contain high levels of antioxidants, and their color makes them perfect for holidays such as Easter or Halloween. Purple sweet potatoes also add a vibrant and unique color to desserts, so they work well for pie and other baked goods.
For breakfast, try potato hash (made with either white potatoes or sweet potatoes). Potato wedges can be baked and are a healthy alternative to French fries for your children’s lunch or dinner. Soups work well as a main course, and sweet potatoes work especially well in batters (bread, biscuits, pancakes, or muffins).
Oats are one of the healthiest grains, and their uses go far beyond oatmeal. Oats are a good source of thiamine, manganese, magnesium, iron, protein and fiber, as well as several other nutrients. You can use oat flour in place of wheat flour in almost any recipe, so it’ll be simple to add oats into your children’s diet.
Make low- or no-sugar muffins, breads and pancakes. Homemade granola is healthier than store-bought too since you can alter the amount and type of sweetener added to it. Surprisingly, oatmeal recipes can even be savory instead of sweet!
For more healthy foods and recipes that incorporate them, browse through cooking channels on YouTube. There are a lot of kid-friendly channels, “Cook with Amber” being one of the best. A number of YouTube channels that feature healthy recipes are hosted by kids, so watching them with your children is a good way to get them more interested in cooking and eating healthier.
The only downside is there are sometimes content blocks on YouTube. If you run into any issues, Secure Thoughts’ guide about proxies can help you get past the blocks. In addition to YouTube, you can also find a ton of great recipes in magazines such as “Clean Eating,” “Eating Well,” “ChopChop,” or “Parents.”
Getting your kids to like healthy foods doesn’t have to be a challenge. Try some of the ideas above and let us know how it goes. Are there any foods you’d recommend that we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments.
About the Author: Cassie is a health and wellness blogger, as well as a mom. She encourages her children to live a healthy lifestyle whenever possible and enjoys the opportunity to share advice with fellow parents who are interested in doing the same. Follow her on twitter @eHealth_Inform