Everyone wants their kids to be healthy. It’s up to us as parents to make it happen.
Does your child come home from school with a lunch box full of the healthy food you packed? Does your picky eater pout at dinner time? Here is what you need to do.
First, we serve our kids healthy meals when we can (whether they know it or not) and second, we teach our kids about healthy foods so they make good choices when we are not around.
» Make a fun presentation: We already love to scroll through Pinterest, so next time do a quick search for fun food presentation for kids. Transform your kids’ healthy meal or snack into a flower, fun shape or favorite animal.
» The Sandwich Method: Sandwich something they love with something they don’t. Make something your child loves for dinner along with something new to try or something they didn’t quite like last time. Have them alternate bites between their favorite food and the new food. One bite of mashed potatoes, one bite of broccoli, then repeat until the broccoli is gone.
» Let them help: Help your kids pack their lunch for school. Talk about why each food is chosen. Pick a protein, fruit, veggie and a treat. Not only will they learn about making healthy choices, but they will be motivated to eat a lunch that they helped prepare. Also give your child simple tasks to help prepare breakfast or dinner such as adding vegetables to a salad, measuring and mixing ingredients, or retrieving items from the fridge or pantry.
» Superhero food: My daughter loves superheroes and wants to be big and strong just like them. I told her green food is superhero food to get her to eat more vegetables. We also do “earn-a-treat.” If she wants a piece of candy, she has to eat something healthy like a piece of fruit first.
» Use the blender: Do your kids freak out if they see an onion or something green in their food? Use your blender or food processor to grind up veggies to sneak into meatballs, soups, casseroles, tacos and even burgers. They won’t even know it is in there. You can also make treats with healthy food such as cookie dough hummus or make cupcakes with pumpkin puree. Check out the recipes below.
Cookie dough hummus: In a food processor, blend together until smooth a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, ½ cup of peanut butter and ¼ cup honey. Stir in ½ cup of chocolate chips and serve with animal or graham crackers.
Chocolate pumpkin cupcakes: Mix together a chocolate cake mix, a can of pumpkin puree and about a cup of chocolate chips, pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes at 350 F.
Special thanks to all the area moms who shared their successful ideas for getting their kids to eat healthy: Anne Gilley, Lori Cartwright, Heidi Vandenbush, Theresa Strand, Susan Heim, Andrea Dalebroux and Barbara Dhey.
Nancy Kiehnau is a Greater Green Bay YMCA certified personal trainer and wellness coach. Reach her at 920-436-9622 or email@example.com.