Sneak More Whole Foods | #WellbeingWednesday | By Rachel Schwartzman, BA, L.Ac, ND
I hear so many parents saying the same thing, “I can’t seem to get my kids to eat fruits and vegetables” or “how do you get your kids to eat healthy”, “they won’t eat whole grains”, how about “is corn a vegetable?”
Here are some tips to help your little ones (and big ones) eat a more whole foods diet.
- Make sure they are hungry. If you have picky eaters it is often wise to cut out the snacks. I used to give my kids a snack after school, and then have dinner a little bit after. I found if I give them dinner after school when they are hungry, they gobbled up the meal with little complaints. Allowing your kids to be hungry is a sure fire way for a seamless meal.
- Give the fruits and vegetables first, then protein, lastly carbs. I know as adults we like the presentation of food on our plates, but I think for kids it can be overwhelming. I started giving them food in stages, so veggies first which is the item as parents we want them to eat the most of, then the protein and lastly the carbs. Try to stick to whole grain breads, pasta and rice that are rich in vitamins and fiber.
- Talk about the health benefits of food and start to integrate them in the process. Get your little ones to help out in the kitchen. They love to be little helpers. They can set the table, help chop some vegetables (depending on age of course), pull items you need out of the fridge or panty and read recipes to you (a great way to practice their reading too!). Children that help prepare meals are more likely to eat it. It might take a bit more time on the kitchen but I guarantee you will see the rewards.
- Smoothies or “milkshakes” are a great way to pack a nutrient rich drink that is sure to be had. My little one literally screams out for smoothies. You can add a protein powder, frozen fruit, spinach, kale, a milk alternative, nut butters, hemp hearts, ground flax seeds. Smoothies are a bottomless pit of healthy goodness. Pick up some cool reusable straws from an ecostore to avoid the constant use of plastic ones. If any of the smoothie is left over simply freeze into popsicle molds and I can assure you no child will turn down a frozen treat.
- Be persistent and if all else fails, sneak it in! Vegetable purees can be your new best friend. Add sweet potato, spinach or carrots to pasta sauce sweet potato or pumpkin to pancakes, cauliflower to mac and cheese, or zucchini and carrots to muffins or loaves.
Good luck and keep on trying!
Rachel Schwartzman, BA, L.Ac, ND www.rachelschwartzman.com