If you have kids (especially young ones) then you know exactly what happens when you put something green on their plate. It usually begins with loud moans, groans, and whining and ends with them pushing the offending food to the side of their plate.
Meals can be a real battleground when you are trying to get children to eat nutritiously sound fruits and vegetables. Fortunately as kids grow up they generally become a little more enthusiastic about these foods but while they are young you sometimes have to use your wits to trick kids into eating their fruits and vegetables.
What we need are some kid friendly meal ideas. So let's look at a few ways to sprinkle some magic onto those foods that your children absolutely positively refuse to eat.
Playing With Your Food Can be a Good Thing
Kid friendly meals involve fun. Play is an important part of a child's learning and food is no exception to this rule. Make it fun and they will be much more likely to want to eat it. You are only limited by your imagination so think outside the box.
Chop up fruits and vegetables into fun shapes and kids will be more likely to enjoy eating them. It does not take much time or work to turn mashed potatoes into a snow hill or snowman. A carrot or stick of celery can easily become a wagon or rocket ship.
Celery can be filled with peanut butter, cheese, or salad dressing to give it more flavor. You can pop antioxidant rich raisins onto your celery topping to create "Ants walking on a log".
Finger Foods are Generally Kid Friendly Meals
Chop Fruits and Vegetables Nice and Tiny
Let's face facts most vegetables and fruits take quite awhile to chew so can wind up being a lot of work to eat. When fruits and vegetables are chopped into tiny pieces they are much more likely to be viewed as a snack food and eaten as such.
Chopping fruits and vegetables into tiny manageable pieces makes eating these foods less of a chore for young children. So chop their food into bite size pieces and make those big bad vegetables go away.
The trick to getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables is to make these foods appear appetizing to them.
Some Foods are Just Naturally Child Friendly
Some Fruits and Vegetables are More Fun to Eat Than Others
Healthy food doesn't have to be scary. There are ways to get your children's meals to look like something they just may consider eating.
Kids don't often recognize raisins as a fruit, or pickles as a vegetable, so it is generally quite easy to get them to chow down on these. Corn on the cob, watermelon, berries, and dried fruit snacks are other fruits and vegetables that children generally enjoy consuming.
Potatoes are a fun vegetable for children to eat. Mashed, baked, or fried, the versatile potato can be prepared in so many different ways and this could be the reason why children tend to like potatoes.
Many people do not realize that potatoes are actually quite rich in vitamin C. So when french fries are fried in healthy omega rich olive or canola oil they are really not that nasty of a vegetable option to feed your children.
Juice, and smoothies made with juice, are also a great way to get those important fruits and vegetables into your kids. The new V8 Juices combine both fruits and vegetables into their mix and they come in a number of delicious flavors. One glass of juice provides a full serving of vegetables as well as one full serving of fruit.
It's Okay to Play With Your Lunch
If it Doesn't Look Like a Fruit or Vegetable is it Still One?
Sneaking those healthy antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables into foods that kids love certainly works. Pizza is a perfect example of vegetables that kids love to eat.
They have no idea that tomato sauce is actually good for them so shhhh! Don't tell. (Off the topic a bit, did you know that tomatoes are a fruit, and not a vegetable?)
Tomato soup, vegetable soup, spaghetti sauce, raisin oatmeal cookies, apple sauce, and jello salad are other foods designed to trick kids into eating their fruits and vegetables.
Sauce it up - Provide a Dressing to Dip the Food in
If Food Looks Fun Kids are Happier to Eat it
Hiding fruits and vegetables under sauce or providing a dip to dunk them in is a great way to get fussy kids to eat these healthy foods.
Meats and vegetables can be easily served with a small side dish of cheese sauce, ranch or sweet and sour sauce, ketchup, gravy, or salad dressing.
For children a sauce generally makes any food taste better so serve up fruit and vegetables with a dunking sauce. Apple slices or strawberries can be accompanied by a caramel or chocolate dunking sauce to make them more fun to eat.
A chocolate fondu is a great way to get kids to eat all kinds of fruits. The more fruits for this dish the better so chop into small bite size pieces strawberries, bananas, apples, pineapple, and which ever other fruits you happen to find appetizing with chocolate.
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