How To Make Healthy Food For Kids A Happy Part of Their Routine?
Parenting is like being on a roller coaster. Just when you think you have figured it all out, comes the sudden twist and drop! This is a daily affair when it comes to figuring out healthy food for kids. A choice that is not only nutritious but also passes their ‘mood-o-meter’ of the day is one uphill task.
Kids, be it, toddlers, pre-teens or full-blown teens, are picky eaters and tough cookies to please. The older they are, the tougher is the battle of wits. Junk is what typically attracts them, and they develop a preference for food they enjoy eating the most. However, as parents, we know that a nutritious and well-balanced diet is crucial to a child’s growth and development. So, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing for the kids. It sure is difficult to convince your child that fruit is as sweet and delicious as strawberry mousse.
Here are some ways to make healthy food for kids a happy part of their routine.
Move Toward Smart & Innovative Cooking
Everyday ‘roti-daal-sabzi’ routine bore kids the most. Pulses and green veggies put them off, and they shy away from eating, coming up with all kind of excuses. Colourful, spicy, tangy and sweet dishes attract them the most. Food experts suggest that small changes in the cooking style and presentation will not only get the kids to eat, but they will also enjoy the good wholesome food. Mask the nutritious food in a fun guise. Give their favourite junk food a makeover - knead fenugreek and spinach in the dough with spices and serve, instead of the plain boring rotis. Let them eat their favourite noodles, just use wheat instead of all-purpose flour. Make fried rice with loads of veggies. Use wheat flour in their favourite apple cobbler, instead of all-purpose flour.
Similarly, make pizzas at home using multi-grain base. Make healthy fruit snacks for them. So, all the parents out there, smart cooking and innovative serving are your new mantras in making healthy food for kids interesting for them.
Don’t War Over Eating Healthy
This maxim, we all know, but tend to forget when our patience is wearing thin in trying to get the kids to eat. It takes a lot out of a parent to ignore that untouched or half-eaten plate of food. But it has to be done. DO NOT focus on what your kids are or aren’t eating. No amount of nagging, cajoling, yelling, scolding, tearing your hair out, or for that matter bribing, will do the trick. In fact, all this will have just the opposite effect, and in no time at all, it will become a battle of wits. Just ignore, stay patient and keep making interesting food for them and let the kids have some say in what and when they want to eat. More importantly, limit the junk food availability at home and keep those fingers crossed.
Lead by Example
The best way to inculcate healthy eating in kids is to eat healthy yourself. Kids tend to imitate what they see being followed by their elders on a daily basis. A well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables in a good proportion, and minimizing our intake of junk food, we will be sending the right message to our kids. Meal times are significant not just for family bonding but also for building healthier eating habits in the kids.
Involve the Kids
Involve the kids in planning the meals. Take them grocery shopping and give them a choice to pick between a few healthy options, like apple or pear? Carrot or spinach? Parmesan cheese or tofu? This gets them more interested and excited about what is going to be cooked. Talk to them about making healthy choices and take their suggestions in planning a balanced meal. Guys, time for some smart thinking as well!
FRU2go is a great healthy fruit snack option, which is not only nutritious but is appealing to the kids as well, because of its taste and inventive mixing of fruits. It is available in many variants like banana strawberry, mango, mixed fruit and more.
Healthy eating cannot be taught overnight, but has to slowly become a part of our kids’ everyday life – through patience, inventiveness and yes, a bit of craftiness of the folks!