5 Healthy Eating Tricks and Tips for Kids
Is your child a picky eater? If so, you may be having a hard time getting him or her to eat foods that are good for a growing body. Many kids get into food ruts from time to time—blame their developing taste buds, or attribute that finickiness to a phase that they’ll (hopefully!) grow out of.
In the meantime, try these tricks to add more balance to their diets:
1. Get them involved in grocery shopping. Instead of picking everything out and bringing it all home on your own, send your kids on a mission: tell them they have to eat a vegetable with their dinner, but they can pick it out. Set them loose in the produce section and point out different types of veggies. Initially, they may pick the same thing for weeks on end, but eventually they’ll become curious about the other offerings and want to give them a try as well.
2. Let them be your sous chef. Research has shown that kids who take a regular role in meal preparation are more likely to try new things and eat what they’ve prepared. Let little ones season foods, place them into cooking dishes, or add garnishes. Older tweens and teens can handle chopping up veggies and placing them in the oven. As their culinary skills and maturity levels develop, let them take a crack at preparing a whole meal for the family.
3. Sneak in veggies. There are plenty of clever ways to sneak vegetables into meals, but the easiest way is to puree! Add pureed carrots to chili, zucchini to soups, eggplant to casseroles, and peppers to pasta sauce. Experiment with what works best for you—your kids probably won’t even taste the difference!
4. Garnish breakfast with fruit. Adding fruits to their morning meals is a nice way to add color and flavor variety—and sneak in some vital nutrients to boot. Sprinkle blueberries into cereal, cut up slices of melon and plate with scrambled eggs, stir strawberries or raspberries into pancake batter . . . you get the idea.
5. Go lean. Make kid-friendly favorites like burgers and fajitas with leaner cuts of meat. Burgers, for instance, can be made with ground sirloin instead of ground chuck, and fajitas are just as tasty when made with flank steak (or skinless chicken breasts) as opposed to fatter forms of beef.
It's important to keep kids on the right track with healthy eating habits!