When it comes to food for kids, do you ever come across parents who describe their kids as the kind who eat anything put in front of them? You know they’re lying right? We all want our children to eat healthy, be adventurous in trying new food, and make smart snack choices. However, getting them to eat this way is a lot easier said than done. Everyone recognizes how important it is for a family to share meals. Think of what actress and Mom Julia Roberts says about feeding her family: “I love to cook, and I love to have all my family around the dinner table”.
We wish we could provide a magic recipe that would make your kids eat every item you cook without whining, sighing or pushing it around the plate. As long as we’re dreaming, how about making them talk at the table to discuss their day. No magic formula exists however, so the best we can do is come up with a few suggestions on how to get kids to eat healthy foods. From fare with a Latino flavor to nutritious snacks, we’ve got you covered when it comes to food for kids.
1. Keep it Cultural
Pack your kid’s lunch with quesadillas, sour crème and guacamole. Warm up their tummy on a cold day with a thermos of Cuban black beans and rice. Fill their lunch box with meaty empanadas or a veggie rich burrito. There’s no reason child nutrition has to be bland.
Read Related: Nutrition 101: Mom’s Tool Kit for a Healthy Family
2. Always Serve a Breakfast of Champions
Get them out the door with a hearty breakfast high in protein and low on sugar. Consider English Muffin Pizza’s or Bagels with crème cheese and fresh veggies. Whip up fruit and yogurt smoothies that look more like a treat than breakfast. Make your own granola bars that can be munched on the way to the bus stop.
3. Learn From Your Mistakes
We all want to make life better for our kids and help them skip the mistakes we made growing up. For many of us, controlling our weight is a life-long issue. Start your kids on the road to healthy living by providing healthy food from the start. You don’t have to ban potato chips from the house, but serve them as a treat not a regular part of the menu.
4. Keep Snacks Healthy
Guide your kids to healthy snacks when they’re little and they’ll grow up eating that way. Serve yogurt and fruit for snacks along with low fat cheese. Look for protein rich snacks like peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers. Stress water over any kind of soft drink and don’t forget the milk.
5. Feeding Infants
When it comes to feeding your baby, you’ll get lots of advice from moms and grandmas. The only advice you need to follow is that of your child’s pediatrician. Breast milk is generally agreed to be the best and only food for baby for the first year, with formula a good replacement. Little tummies need time to adapt to other foods and your doctor knows when it’s time to introduce solids.
6. Teach Kids to Cook
As kids, we had two choices, eat what was on the table or make a peanut butter sandwich. There’s also a third alternative, teach your kids to cook what they like. Start by letting the kids help in the kitchen. Even little ones can clean fresh vegetables or tear lettuce into salad bowls. They may never be gourmet chefs, but by the time they’re teens they should be able to put a healthy meal on the table.