We are building a raised garden this year and I hoping that by growing some of our own veggies, my kids will want to eat more of them. I’ll try anything to get them to eat more veggies. This summer we will be concentrating on making more healthy choices when snacking. I’ve come up with a few ways of getting my kids to eat better that I’m definitely going to try. I thinking that getting kids to make healthy snack choices is easier than most parents realize.
Kids (and adults) will grab what is convenient to snack on, so it is important to keep healthy snacks readily available. Have veggies cut and ready for the family to increases the odds of a healthy snack choice. Clear containers in the fridge also make it easier to find a healthy choice.
People eat with their eyes first, so be sure snacks are visually appealing. Brightly colored fresh veggies bring their own appeal, but increase the kid appeal with cutting in fun shapes. Crinkle cutters are inexpensive and make all veggies look like more fun. A crinkle cutter is akin to decorative scissors in scrapbooking, so don’t limit the veggie prep to a straight edged knife.
Vegetables and fruits can be dressed up with dressings and sauces that will delight the child’s palette. One cautionary note: Do beware of the sugar content of such dressings as many of them can only feed into a child’s proclivity towards sugar addiction. Peanut butter (warmed a bit in the microwave) is a tasty, high protein dip suitable for most veggies. Cream cheese can be mixed with fresh herbs (to add further nutrients), salt, pepper, and garlic. Whatever the family likes. Again, the key is to not feel limited in how vegetables are presented.
Let kids drink their fresh fruits and vegetables. Everything tastes better in a smoothie. Place a combination of favorite fruits and vegetables in the blender, and voilà, healthy snack. Adding ice cubes or a little plain yogurt adds to the fun. Be sure to sneak in a favorite vegetable or mild tasting new vegetable to the blend. Swiss chard is surprisingly tasty with strawberries.
Don’t cause stress about a couple cookies, but do teach that food is fuel and what goes in the body impacts how the bodies looks, feels, and functions. This is a good chance to show kids the food pyramid and the wide base of vegetables.
Finally, be a good example, and continuing the teaching by modelling healthy snack habits. Join the kids when they dig into the fruit salad or celery and peanut butter.
Do you have any other ideas?