Getting kids eating healthy means planning healthy meal ideas for kids. And having lots of healthy snack recipes for kids too. Why?
What's the problem?
So if you want your kids eating healthy, you have to "buck the trend!"
Here's secret #1 for healthy kids:
Kids likes and dislikes are guided by their mothers' - if you don't like a vegetable, and don't give it to your kids, they won't learn to like it!
The news is not good, if you have not started early with healthy recipes for kids. Here's the bad news from researchers, who find that:
With fast foods, they will likely have deficiencies in vitamin A, folic acid and zinc - found in veggies, and these deficiencies are the biggest contributors to childhood diseases, according to a prestigeous medical journal, The Lancet .
SECRET # 2 for healthy kids:
Stop giving kids "kid food" instead of the healthier meal that you hopefully are eating yourself.
Here's the bad news about 10 to 12 year olds:
The girls fared slightly better, preferring fruit juices, tea or coffee. (M. Marquis, University of Montreal)
What is the reason for kids eating healthy or not?
What to do to avoid eating meals in your car, in bedrooms, to counteract this trend?
Even providing a “sit down meal,” may be a novelty!
Parents and even grand parents may need to pitch in to re-assess “convenience.”
HERE ARE 10 HEALTHY EATING TIPS to get you thinking beyond carrot and celery sticks for real healthy eating:
Kids prefer raw vegetables, so give them carrot sticks, raw broccoli and cucumber sticks.
For meals, you can add greens -- vegetables to favorites such as pasta or mashed potatoes.
Just add finely chopped kale to the last 5 minutes of steaming potatoes and then mash into the potatoes according to your favorite method.
It’s official, food additives make kids more hyper!
For healthy kids, eat REAL, unprocessed foods:
Researchers tested a cocktail of artificial colors and the commonly-used preservative sodium benzoate on three year olds and older children, and found that these clearly increased the hyperactivity of these kids.
Food additives, they found, increase these hyperactive behaviors:
Increased hyperactivity is associated with problems in school, especially reading problems.
Putting on a pot of oatmeal on is easy – just bring the oats to a boil, add raisins, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, nuts, and turn it off.
Cover and let sit for 5 minutes for everyone to take as they get ready.
Why oatmeal for breakfast and not packaged cereal?
The “slow release” of glucose of the oats boosts memory and attention, not like the “fast release” sugar cereal.
Slow-release breakfasts for healthy kids are:
Having a rule that kids must try at least one bite of a food they don’t like or THINK they don’t like.
Researchers tell us that it often takes SEVEN TRIES for a child to get to like a vegetable. Why?
So, if your child "grimaces" at the first bite, it is not that they don't like it -- it is just nature's protective reaction, so STICK WITH IT FOR at least 7 TIMES.
Many kids need to “re-train their brain” from an unvaried over-dose of fatty, starchy sweets.
People and families vary greatly as to their curiosity about foods and willingness to taste different foods.
In the past, sticking to the “tried and true” might have been for safety.
Make a sweet COLESLAW by chopping part of a cabbage and some carrots VERY fine and adding dried CRANBERRIES, BLUEBERRIES or RAISINS, chopped dried apricots or pieces of an orange.
Use a bit of mayonnaise or olive oil for dressing mixed with some apple juice or orange juice for flavor. YUM YUM YUM!
OATMEAL RAISIN or Chocolate Chips COOKIES are an ageless favorite:
* In a bowl, whisk together the two types of flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
* In a large bowl, beat butter, both types of sugar until fluffy and add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in well. Beat in the vanilla. Add flour mixture, stirring until just blended. Stir in oats, raisins and sunflower seeds.
* Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches (5 cm) apart, onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Press lightly with back f fork.
* Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 12 minutes or until golden and set around the edges but still slightly soft in the center.
* Store between sheets of wax paper in container at room temperature for up to 1 day or freeze for 2 weeks.
(per serving, 162 cal, 3 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 23 grams carbs.)
Let them make a mess in the kitchen!
Even though messy, involving kids is fun and teaches skills, and not just for baking.
Help them decide which soup or stew you should make.
Help them find the ingredients or go shopping with them. This way they will learn that soup does not always come from a can
Why no junk food for healthy kids?
A junk food “addiction” will eventually make their life miserable with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and so on.
Junk food means processed foods such as white flour, and all hydrogenated oils in margarine, shortening, snack crackers and peanut butter.
Don’t make a pie unless you have too much fruit.
Instead, teach them that fresh and whole is best for them.
Make whipping cream (the real thing) to go with the fruit if you want to make it special. Yummy and fun!
Introduce distinctions such as sweet, savory (salty) and bitter and texture.
Bitter has virtually disappeared from modern eating, but some greens may come close.
Find words to describe texture, such as smooth, gritty, crunchy, slimy, etc
We hope that you have been inspired for new healthy meal ideas for kids to try.
For more healthy recipes for kids, see:
10 tips and secrets for getting kids eating healthy meal ideas for kids -- healthy recipes for kids
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