Okay, so you may have noticed a little theme going on this week. I, out of the box mommy, am going to start working on being a little less "out of the pantry" and slightly more "out of produce section". Obviously, everyone knows that produce is the way to go if you are striving to eat healthy. I mean, of all the diets and help books out there, nobody would ever argue that eating vegetables is a good idea. Most moms want to figure out how to "make" their kids eat healthy, and many moms find it a challenge. This week I have provided a couple of recipes offering ways to "sneak" nutrition in, as well as a couple of snacking ideas to make eating healthy fun. I will continue to strive to be better about this, but please go easy on me, as I am a big fan of the "not so healthy" choices. I have been known to say things like, "WE EAT WHAT WE LIKE" and think I am cute and witty. I do want to direct you to a post I was reading today that I thought was superb, for you mommas out there that are with me on this journey.
In the post, titled, "Ask the Expert-- Developing a Taste for Fruits and Veggies," Family Physician Dr. Michelle May offers a few tips on helping your toddler develop a taste for fruits and veggies. She gives ten practical tips. Here are her ten tips:
- Relax- having a positive, low-key attitude about eating makes meal time more pleasant and therefore feeding more successful.
- Follow the leader – make family meals a high priority and be a great role model by serving and eating a variety of fruits and veggies.
- Don’t be a short order cook – fix one balanced meal for everyone in the family. Remember, it is your responsibility to decide what you will offer but it is up to them whether they will eat it.
- Make it fun – when my kids were small, we played Guess the Color. They closed their eyes and tried to guess the color of the food I put in their mouth. They were having too much fun to realize that the most colorful foods happen to be vegetables.
- Serve the vegetables first – they are more likely to eat them when they are hungry.
- Don’t bribe or reward children for eating certain foods -they quickly realize that those foods must be yucky if you have to bribe them to eat them. They also learn to hold out until the reward is offered.
- Involve your child in shopping for, preparing and serving food – they are more likely to eat it because they participated in the process. At two, my son’s job was to tear up the lettuce and drop it in the bowl. The first time he helped, we made the mistake of telling him to tear it into “bite-sized pieces.” You guessed it…he bit off pieces of the lettuce and spit them into the bowl!
- Be creative – add carrots to spaghetti sauce, spinach to meat loaf, tomatoes to toasted cheese and bananas to peanut butter sandwiches. Keep fresh fruit and cut up vegetables handy for snack time and offer fruit-based desserts.
- Easy on the juice and “fruit drinks” – they don’t pack much of a nutritional punch and may just add unnecessary sugar to your child’s diet.
- Don’t give up!It can take up to ten exposures to a particular food before a child will accept it. Maybe she doesn’t like steamed broccoli and cauliflower but will have fun dipping fresh Trees and Clouds into a little ranch dressing.