It is crucial to introduce wholesome and healthy foods to your children at an early age, to expose them to a routine of healthy foods that ensure their physical and mental development. It also conditions them to like the taste of fruits and vegetables and may help cut down on the craving for sugary or fatty foods.
There are numerous ways to make fruits and vegetables appealing to your kids – be it by decorating them, presenting them in innovative ways, or using plant-based alternatives for regular ‘snacks’. Here are some tips to get children on board the healthy eating regime.
Involve Your Children: There is no better to get children to do things than by actually giving them a role in the process. Ask them to accompany you to the vendor’s to pick out the fruits or to help decorate a fruit bowl. Involving your kids serves makes them see the whole process as a reward, and makes them feel more motivated to finish the bowl of fruit they had a hand in making themselves.
Switch to Healthy: Try switching your existing stock of biscuits, chocolates, and chips (and any other snacks) with healthier options. Make it a point to always keep plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand (and table), so that your child’s craving for munchies can be satisfied with healthier options. Try replacing packaged fruit juices with fresh fruit and vegetable juices – freshly made juice is much more nutritious and is free from added preservatives, sugar, colours and flavors.
Show Them How it’s Done: Be a role model. Children tend to imitate the people around them, so it is important to showcase positive behavior rather than forcing your children to eat their vegetables. When see you eating healthy veggies and fruits at every meal, they end up feeling encouraged to eat their daily fill as well.
Make Them Appealing: Decorate veggies and fruits in unusual shapes, or sneak in some leafy greens into a curry. Visually appealing formats can help children overcome resistance to certain vegetables and fruits and actually eat them – and help them get their necessary doses of required nutrients.
Here are some recipes and dishes you can try to slip in those nutritious foods into your child’s daily meals:
Grapes and Cherry Caterpillars: Arrange your grapes and cherries in the shape of a caterpillar. You can ever use a long wooden skewer to keep them all in place.
Super-charged Green Juice: Blend together 3 cups of baby spinach, fresh mint, 1 banana, 1 orange, and 1 cup of fresh apple juice to make the nutrition-packed breakfast/evening smoothie for your kids. Not only is it rich in vitamins and iron, it’s also delicious!
Watermelon Popsicles: Pour a glass of fresh watermelon juice into your ice tray and leave it overnight. The next day, if your children are craving ice-cream, give them these healthier versions instead. You can also try this with any other fruit juice blend.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: Thinking of momos or vegetable spring rolls for a snack? Try switching them up with cabbage rolls for a chance. Instead of using a traditional maida base for the rolls, you can roll up a generous serving of vegetables and rice in a bed of cabbage – taste, and nutrition guaranteed.