Everyone wants their kids to eat healthy, right? We have all seen the new food plate instead of pyramid. We all want them to eat a ton of veggies, fruits and whole grains, and no sugar, artificial stuff or white foods. But how exactly do we achieve that?
When I first had my daughter Liv, I truly had no clue. I read SUPER BABY FOODS and was completely overwhelmed. But I was willing to do anything for my babe, so I joined a CSA, started cooking more, experimenting more and here is what I learned:
1. Kids Want to Eat Whatever You Eat
Kids have an insanely awesome truth radar. If you don’t really want to eat it, they won’t either. So the best way to get your kids to eat healthy is start to do it yourself. Start to love your veggies and they will, too. Chomp on celery and they will want to also.
With the heat this summer, I started not being hungry in the morning, but it’s so important to me that Liv sees me have breakfast with her every morning. I want her to see a mom that eats healthy, that walks the walk. So I started doing green protein shakes based on my fabulous doctor’s book REVIVE. (www.drfranklipman.com). Now of course she wants one every morning too!
Now I have to be honest, the first time I made a green one, it was a bit hard to believe it would be good, but I closed my eyes and YUM! And now it’s something we share each day. And I will then also give her some other good stuff, a bowl of oatmeal or gluten-free sprouted bread with almond butter or her favorite, a mushroom omelette. A green smoothie is a great way to start the day with greens and lots of fluids, which is so key for kids.
Now I know this news of KIDS EAT WHAT YOU DO can be a big bummer if you want a cheeseburger with fries, but that is where awesome sites like www.thesneakychef.com comes in.
She teaches you how to sneak the goods into anything!
2. Keep it Light
As HARD as it is, try not to force feed your kids, beg, bargain or bribe about food. I live for the phrase “it’s not what they eat in a day, its what they eat in a week” that matters.
Some days it’s 10 different veggies, some days not so much. Every book I read on parenting reminds me that food should not be a battleground and when you don’t push, you get better results. I have certainly found it to be true.
3. Get Creative!!!
This is my favorite tip. Let your imagination go wild.
With protein shakes for example, if you call them milkshakes, somehow they get more exciting – for you and the kiddo!
I also make them in all different colors (use different fruits & veggies – tweet me for recipes!) and if you have leftovers,
freeze them in pops and call them ice cream! I am jonzing to get this set: http://www.amazon.com/Tovolo-80-3879-Freezer-Jewel-Pops/dp/B001WAKDMW/ref=pd_sbs_k_6.
Take a mashed sweet potato & make a mountain, then cover it with coconut snow! (Thank you Steve Spielberg & Close Encounters for that idea.)
Make funny faces with veggies – cucumber eyes, cherry tomato nose, corn teeth, you name it.
One snack I love for Liv and she adores that I learned from my childhood is ANTS ON A LOG: take a piece of celery, spread it with almond butter (or peanut butter, hummus, etc) and then sprinkle raisins to look like ants! So much fun.
I have found some super wise women of the web world who are MASTERS at this, momma feeding superheroes like: http://www.todayiatearainbow.com/
4. Keep Talking
Be it at meal time, or in the supermarket, get your kids involved as you shop, cook, and eat – talk to them about their choices.
Liv already knows the word organic & chemicals and she knows if I don’t want her to have something, she will say its because it has chemicals or too much sugar.
Kids love to feel part of choices, and they feel so empowered by knowledge, why do you think they love asking WHY so much?
These tips have helped me a bunch, and hope they help you. I would love to hear from you about any tips you have as well.