Healthy Kids Part 3
Welcome to the last part of this series getting your kids eating healthy: Getting healthy foods into kids’ diets (and hopefully- in their mouths!).
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A yogurt a day… we hear so much about the health benefits of yogurt. Getting kids to buy in isn’t always easy. Sure, we can slap a cartoon character on the front of the package but those brands seem to have more sugar than probiotics. When I can’t get my daughter to eat her yogurt (especially after I’ve already opened it!), I try a treasure hunt. I put a few blueberries or about 5 mini chocolate morsels in the yogurt and mix it up. I tell her to try to find all of the hidden treasures in her yogurt. It often works so it might be worth a try on picky eaters. Use whatever they like- Cheerios, fruit, even a small amount of chocolate pieces if you have to.
Sprinkles are often your best ally to get kids to eat something. If you want your child to try something new, put sprinkles on it. The small amount of sugar might be worth acquiring a new taste (or even getting medicine down!).
I also use this trick to get her to eat oatmeal (not the pouches- real oatmeal). Try this recipe here and add your “treasures” or sprinkles.
A comment from a reader in part one recommended making smoothies to get fruits and vegetables in kids’ diets. This was such a great suggestion that I wanted to highlight it. Throwing frozen fruit in a blender couldn’t be easier- add a touch of juice or milk and you’re done!
You could also use fresh fruits/veggies, ice cubes, and some liquid (such as milk, coconut water, or even breast milk) in a blender. Some models, like the one below, are so small and portable that they make it super easy to blend and go:
Oster My blend with travel sport bottle
Smoothies are naturally sweet from the fruits so this is a great way to add some greens in their diet without kids even noticing. A bit of spinach or kale has little or no taste when mixed in a smoothie with sweet fruit. Smoothies can also be frozen to make a healthier “popsicle”. Just put it in a freeze pop tray/mold and add the stick for a healthy, cool summer treat. Kids will love the sweet “snack” and you will love that they are getting the greens they would otherwise never eat. Unless your kid likes kale- then super kudos to you!
In part one, we talked about swapping out processed foods for healthy alternatives; in part two we got a healthy treat with cookies.
Here are a few tips in summary:
- Don’t forget that presentation is a big deal for kids. They feel like they are getting a treat- even with regular foods- when they are presented in a fun way. Here are some examples for a princess lunch, ghost pancake (wheat or oatmeal pancake mix makes it much healthier), pancake sandwiches, a funny-faced breakfast, or toddler cereal with character crackers:
- Letting kids help prepare meals also builds buy-in. If they can help by mixing or assembling some part of their own food, they will feel proud and may be more likely to actually eat it.
- Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean planting an organic herb garden. Simply swapping out ingredients for healthier options can make a really big difference in their diets. Try using low-sugar or natural versions of the foods you normally eat.
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I can’t end the series without a recipe for… CAKE!
I can’t take credit for this recipe though- it is from Gold Medal Flour. Here’s the LINK
I’m not promoting the icing because it is super full of sugar- but the cake is a healthier recipe. It uses natural ingredients such as honey and bananas. It’s much better than a box cake. Again, this is a treat (moderation is key of course). But then again that was the point of this series: being able to say “yes” to treats by using healthier recipes and options.
Parenting is hard! It’s about the little things we can do to balance smart parenting with happy kids! That is a happyplace.
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