So this blog has double the reason to read: 1) You will, hopefully, get your kids eating healthy meals, 2) You will be able to still eat what they do but now it's guilt free.
The following tips, I collected from real life "healthy " Mom's and some tricks and tips from my own Mom and Nan, who always made sure I ate my veggies.
2. Kid-Created Recipe Cards. From the selections your kids make in no.1, collect the pictures and recipes so you can create and compile Recipe Cards. Ask them to go through and rate the meals according to how much they liked eating them with colorful stickers. Soon they will have created their own healthy recipe book. You can use this as a tool, offering them a choice of meals from something they have created, again allowing them to feel in control of their choices and more likely to enjoy what they eat.
3. Make foods that will attract kids. What tastes better; a normal round pancake or a Micky Mouse shaped pancake? Adding a smily face or turning a healthy snack into an animal is always a winner. This is also a great tactic for limiting the amount of choc chips, cookie chunks, or chips you add to the dish too. Here are some of my favorites:
5. Open a restaurant. This is one thing I used to do with my Nan when I stayed with her at the weekend (not surprising then that I went on to own a chain of restaurants - go figure). Buy cute little aprons, chef hats and a chalkboard so they can write or draw a menu, buy kid sized utensils and hey presto! You have your very own restaurant. I love this idea because even if your kid does not go on to a future in the restaurant trade they will certainly learn to understand the process of choosing from the menu, taking orders and waiting for the food to arrive, so they are better prepared in a real restaurant and ,hopefully, better behaved.
6. The 2 Bite Rule. As my clients will tell you, I am a great believer in the theory that the anticipation of doing something is often worse than actually doing it. For this reason, I like to use the 2 bite rule when getting anyone, even adults, to try a new food. The first bite they will, for sure, twist their face and say they don't like it. At the second bite they will have overcome some of the nervous anticipation of trying something new and you may even get them to take more bites from there. I always keep at it, and re introduce the new healthy item the next day so that they get used to it quickly and without too much fuss.
7. Roast your veggies. When we are young we have a much "sweeter palate" - this is why it is often difficult to get kids to want anything other than candy. You may have noticed that if you roast your vegetables, they take on a sweeter taste. I love roasting cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and peppers. Firm favorites with kids are always sweet potato and carrots.
8. Plant a garden. Having a garden is a great way to get kids interested in, not only healthier foods but in learning about where their food comes from. Food from your own garden is packed with more flavor and children love getting their hands dirty picking their meals straight from their own garden too. Check out this TED Talk by a passionate and animated school teacher from an inner city school in the South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery and are now providing jobs.
9. Choose a "Try It" food. Every time you go shopping with the kids, pick a "Try It" food. Guide your child when at the market, allowing them to pick one item from the outer isles of the store, (which is where the fresh produce is usually kept) keeping them away from the inner isles (which is where all the packaged and processed food is kept). As long as you stick to a No Junk Food rule, then your child gets something that they would not normally have, as a treat, and expand their food preferences as a result.
10. Make a shake. Kids love shakes and it is so much easier to get kids to drink their nutrients than it is to get them to sit down and eat a full meal. Make delicious smoothies with berries, yogurt, flaxseed and you can also sneak in vegetables too. Kale and spinach go well in shakes. If you have left overs, you can always freeze them into healthy popsicles too.