Getting kids to eat their greens can sometimes be a nightmare (and even at times, fruits are met with hesitation).
Almost every kid hits a point where somewhere in their little developing mind, they decide for one reason or another that they are no longer trying anything new. Parents, you are not alone in dealing with this.
Time and again, parents become exhausted with trying to reach the recommended nutritional goals for their kids. Tears, threats, crying and bribery can be exhausting and rarely work. Here are some ideas for pulling off switches, hiding, and even upfront ways to introduce new (and healthy!) foods.
5 Sneaky Tips and Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat their Fruits and Veggies
Tip 1: Learn to Love Making Smoothies
Smoothies are an amazing way to hide veggies and fruits from your kids. Most children won’t turn down a smoothie with a popular flavor, like strawberry – which is really just crushed iced, berries and juice. Now let’s say they hate carrots.
Try this out: juice some carrots, add a quarter cup to the blender, followed by the ice and strawberries, as well as a shot or two of skim milk or dollop of unhurt. Blend at warp speed and ta-da!
They will drink it down, without any knowledge of what is really in it. For a fruit medley, especially those including citrus, you are really good to go. Citrus is strong-smelling and most of what you taste comes from what you smell. Throw together carrot juice, oranges, pineapple, a dash of skim milk or yogurt, and blend.
It is amazing what you can’t taste with citrus added-in.
Tip 2: When is a “Treat” really a Treat?
The same idea for smoothies can be used for “shakes”. Real shakes have loads of fat. While this tactic won’t get their vegetables in, it just might be a way to sneak in fruit or other healthy foods.
First, lose the ice cream. Replace it with frozen yogurt, fresh strawberries (a cup or so), crushed ice and skim milk. Blend for a delicious strawberry shake. A blueberry shake can be made the same way AND because of the dark blueberry color, you can toss in some carrot juice or even, if you dare, pureed broccoli. This may also be a time to sneak in a child-oriented nutritional supplement, such as SmartyPants.
Nutritional drinks can be chalky or vitamin-like and not all kids dig them. But if you hide the flavor in a homemade shake, you’ll be good to go. Another option is to simply serve up healthier treats – like a simple fruit salad topped with yogurt, or frozen yogurt in their favorite flavor topped with fruit and granola.
Of course, kids should know that “treats” are not another meal and should not be expected all the time.
Tip 3: Snack-time equals Fun-time
Salsa is a fabulous way to get vegetable servings in. Serving salsa with salt-free pretzels or baked tortilla chips cuts the fat and salt out. Salsa has peppers, tomatoes, and onions, and almost no fat. It is a fabulous snack.
You can also try cutting up fresh vegetables and serving them with a fat-free ranch or dressing of their choice. Apples are much more enticing with a caramel dip, but that is a lot of fat and sugar. If you’re going to go this route, opt for a low-fat, low-calorie caramel sauce.
Lunchables – or other pre-arranged, bite-sized meals – are all the craze and are ridiculous in the amount of fat, salt and calories they serve up (plus the cost!) Make your own, using low salt pretzels, cubed or sliced Swiss or mozzarella cheese, seedless grapes, and turkey cut into shapes. All of these are healthy, filling, and easy-to-grab snacks.
Want something uber fun? Check out my friend Lee's Banana Sushi – my kids love it!If you work and your kids come home for lunch or after school with unlimited access to the fridge and kitchen, invest in some square Tupperware containers or one better a PlanetBox lunch kit and leave prepared snacks for them. This approach helps to cut the chances of your kids eating dinner ahead of time, or munching on fatty snacks that will spoil their appetite.
Tip 4: Mealtime Mecca
If possible, pack your child a lunch on school days. It can be a hassle, but at least you are in better control of what they have in front of them.
A lot of times kids will switch lunches and “trade”. While that’s beyond your control, try supplying them with a variety of foods that they actually like and will want to hang onto. If they refuse wheat bread, then buy “white wheat” bread.
Include fruit (either straight up or with a dip), water or sugar-free juice, and cut up vegetables with a low-fat dressing or peanut butter. As for eating at home, letting them help prepare their meals is huge. Children feel responsibility and pride in helping.
Anything you make with a red sauce (lasagna, spaghetti, etc.) is an extremely easy way to sneak in vegetables. Puree the vegetables ahead of time and add them to the sauce. They are almost guaranteed not to taste it, yet they are getting their share of vegetables.
Tip 5: The Secret Benefits of Hidden Vitamins
Besides hiding fish oil in shakes, a chewable, gummy vitamin like SmartyPants, may be for those really picky stages or really picky kids. It may not be the first choice, but a supplement will keep your mind at ease and their bodies healthy.
Not to Worry, Compromise Works Wonders
Kids work in stages – some start trying everything and anything and seem to never complain. But they may grow, hit a certain stage and boom – it may seem like they aren’t willing to touch anything.
Sometimes it’s the opposite. You know how your kids work best – meet them halfway, but don’t be afraid to sneak in some extra nutritional benefits when you can.
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I'm very excited to announce my partnership with #SmartyPants the creators of #TheGoodGummy. The science speaks for itself — SmartyPants produces the only all-in-one multi that also has omega 3s and vitamin D. In the Complete + Fiber formula, they've ALSO added soluble fiber to the mix.
I had the opportunity to connect with their team at the Dad 2.0 Summit in San Francisco earlier this year and they absolutely wowed me. The company's vision for family health, giving back to local and global communities and the belief that everyone deserves good health was enough to put me over the edge… sign me up! How can I help?
Over the coming month, I've teamed up with SmartyPants to offer some fantastic info on the following:
- 5 Tricks for Getting Your Kids to Eat their Fruits & Veggies
- 3 Tips for Setting your Family Up for Optimal Health
- Why Families Need Multi-Vitamins
- The Super Hero Vitamin: Vitamin D gives you wings
- Brain Power, Inflammation and the Fish Oil Connection
- Better to Have Health and Not Need It, than Need It and Not Have It
Stay tuned and enjoy Health Simplified!
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This is my disclaimer, “Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.” ~ Moose