Thanks to Plum Organics for sponsoring my post about tips for baby feeding magic. What if you let baby choose what's for dinner? Check out their cute "Quest for Yum!" video and see what happens!
As parents, we want the best for our children. We help them to feel loved. We strive to teach them right from wrong. We play with and encourage them on a daily basis. We also hope to give them healthy habits for their life. I know all too well the battle healthy eating can pose between mother and child. It’s certainly not all fun and games! If only it were like this:
Plum Organics hopes to motivate healthier eating habits in children beginning at a young age. They offer an entire line of healthy snacks for babies and toddlers – from organic freeze dried fruit to blended meals for babies. It’s always nice to have healthy options like these available. Over time, I have also learned some other ways to help get my kids eating healthier overall.
Set the Example. Kids pay close attention to the actions of the adults in their lives, including eating habits. One of the biggest motivating factors to get children to eat healthy is to lead by example and eat the foods you hope for them to eat.
Give A Choice. When shopping for groceries, encourage your child to pick out a fruit or vegetable to eat during the upcoming week. At meal times, let him or her choose between two or three different options. For example, “would you like carrot sticks or apple slices with lunch today?”.
Use Different Cooking Methods. You could surprise yourself that kids may like vegetables if they are prepared a bit differently. For example, roast vegetables with a little bit of olive oil to bring out a less bitter taste. Cook carrots with a small amount of honey to add just the touch of sweetness to help them appeal more to a child. Blend fruits into a smoothie. Make things in bite-sized pieces, such as mini-meatballs or even tofu-nuggets, which can open a child to trying a new food.
Amp It Up! Get excited about healthy eating! Make a big deal about a healthy snack. I love making “green monsters” for Makenzie. The bright green color makes the snack fun and gets her excited about drinking it. She also loves “chomping on carrots like a rabbit” or making faces out of various cut up fruits/vegetables.
Dips. So many kids love to dip things. Find a variety of healthy dips to motivate your child into eating a larger variety of foods. Everything from yogurt to hummus to peanut butter to a sugar-free ketchup make great options.
Bake away. Baked goods are a fabulous way to sneak in healthy food items. Add grated vegetables to bread and muffins, like my favorite Pumpkin Carrot Cake Bread. Use fresh or dried fruit in quick, easy, homemade bars. Bake casseroles that include vegetables and healthy proteins chopped into small, bite-sized pieces along with some cheese to appeal more than a pile of chopped produce on their plates.
Check ingredients. It’s inevitable that packaged items like crackers, cereals, hot dogs, and more will be part of a child’s meals. Try to pay attention to the quality of ingredients to choose the best of what is available. Pay attention to things like the names of ingredients (look for ingredients you recognize), less sugar, whole grains, and sodium content.
I believe with a little time and thoughtfulness, we can all help our children achieve better eating habits. It takes some planning and consistency, but it can be done. I don’t believe in forcing certain foods on children, but the above practices can help children venture out into adopting healthier choices without pressure. Keep trying, and with time you may find healthy eating a seamless part of parenthood.