Kid friendly cooking produces a different kind of challenge in the kitchen. It’s often very hard to get kids to eat the healthy foods which are best for their developing bodies. Many of us are familiar with the old food pyramid along with the number of servings a growing child should take in of wholesome grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and calcium products. Although you wish to give them those very essential nutrients, we all know that getting your kids to eat and make healthy choices is another matter all together.
The good news is, there is a silver lining. When cooking for kids you don’t always have to integrate all of the essential nutrients into one meal. Try these simple suggestions instead and you will start your kids on eating a more healthy diet. Raw cucumbers, that are thinly sliced and sprinkled with a little kosher or sea salt will make a far healthier snack than potato chips and most children love this for a healthy snack. How about some ants on a log? This is actually just celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins on top. One of my children favorite is plain old carrot sticks with ranch dressing. You get some vegetable in their system and they’re getting a healthy treat at snack time. The same holds true for fruits and melons. Kids love the natural sweetness of fresh fruits and melons and they make an excellent snack that are full of much-needed nutrients for their growing bodies.
We all know that kids love their macaroni and cheese (many adults as well for that matter) but we simply can’t live on that alone (or at least we shouldn’t). It’s been tried, tested and has failed miserably. We need to mix things up a little whenever possible as to get a variety into our diets while keeping our daily meals kid friendly. It is vital that you try introducing whole grain products, healthy proteins, and fresh vegetables whenever possible at meal times. Fresh is always best but many of us don’t have the time to prepare from scratch. The good news is there are many pre-packaged convenience food items which are providing whole grains and less processed unlike in the past in order to satisfy the growing demand of consumers for more healthy food items which can be prepared with very little effort or time.
Cooking healthy foods for kids has become less difficult than in the past. Once again, fresh fruits and vegetables are always best when attainable. Having said that, if you can’t get a hold of fresh, frozen is much more superior compared to canned fruit and veggies. The canned products are often swimming in sugar or sodium and often have additives.
If you need some great recipes that are kid friendly and easy on the budget, you can easily find them online. It is possible to satisfy your child’s calcium intake simply by including milk as a beverage of choice instead of soda for daily meals. Also, you can add a slice of cheese melted over their favorite steamed veggies. What Kid doesn’t like Ice cream? If not there’s also yogurt and pudding as well, they are all excellent source of calcium. Of course these treats can be very sugary and they should be consumed in moderation.
Encourage your kids to try new things whenever possible as opposed to preparing the exact same food items that you already know they like to eat. In doing so, you will minimize a couple of things from occurring. For starters, it will help you to not get tired of cooking the same thing for your children. Second of all, it enables your kids to have a variety in their diet, give them a chance to test new flavors, try different textures along with the opportunity to form their own opinions on what they like and don’t like. By attempting new things they will discover more of what their favorite foods are.
You will quickly learn that kids are not so different from adults when it comes to their taste buds. Just like you have foods you love and others not so much, they also will establish their preferences after a while. Also, many of us find that our tastes sometimes change over time and no doubt your children’s will too. This is why it’s good to rotate a variety in our menu. As a parent I know how difficult it can be to spend both money and time making a meal only to have your little one refuse to even try it. If this happens, use a little reverse psychology. This is what I recommend you do; have them prepare the meals with you. Kids are a lot more likely to eat the foods they helped prepared due to a sense of pride and accomplishment because they actually had a hand in making the dish.
This strategy has worked for me with amazing results when it comes to cooking for my own kids and I’m confident it can work in your household as well. You no longer have to “force” your children or convince them to eat more healthy when they are the ones actually making the food. By helping you prepare the meals they become the chef and will have a better appreciation for the culinary arts and the effort that goes into making a meal.