How To Sneak Fruits And Vegetables Into A Child’s Diet
Fruits and vegetables play an important part of any growing and developing child, thus they should be consumed regularly every day. The only catch is that many children do not like to eat fruits and vegetables, as they are gross, icky, and not as good as sweets such as ice cream. Trying to get your child to consume more fruits and vegetables is a daunting task. However, maintaining a well balanced diet for your children will energize them for a positively active lifestyle, provide them with a healthy mind for focus and will set the stage for a well functioning metabolism that will be paramount for their later years in life. Vegetable and fruit diets have lifelong benefits for your children, and the only trick is to sneak those fruits and vegetables into their diets.
Do: Use a food processor
Presenting a plate of raw veggies and fruits might make your child turn their head or sit there and play with them. You don’t want to force your child to eat fruits and vegetables, which might make them wary of fruits of vegetables in their later years when they are eating for themselves. Use a food processor to blend a good amount of fruits and vegetables into pasta sauces and other sauces. This will get them to intake their daily needed amounts of fruits and vegetables without even knowing it. However, don’t do this all of the time because your child needs to know what fruits and vegetables look like and how they taste.This is important as they need to develop healthy eating habits. Blend fruits and vegetables into about one or two of their meals a day.
Do: Introduce them to smoothies
A quick and easy way to get your child to actively start enjoying fruits and vegetables in their diet is to introduce them to a smoothie as a milkshake or ice cream substitute, or even as a breakfast drink. Majority of children can’t resist the sweet and cool taste of a smoothie, while at the same time, you will be providing them with two to three servings of their daily requirement of fruits and vegetables, complaint free.
In addition, you can sneak a whole assortment of green vegetables into a sweet and tasty pineapple or mango fruit smoothie by blending in a handful of spinach or bok choy. Lastly, you can add organic fruit or vegetable powders in the smoothie which may double the amount of nutrients that your child receives in just one meal.
Do: Substitute sodas and sugary drinks for natural fruit juices
Instead of stocking your refrigerator with sodas, provide your children with natural fruit juices from an early age. The caffeine and sugars found in sodas can be quite addictive, and it will be very difficult to keep them from falling in love with their first soda. However, the trick is to get them involved. You can have your child help you prepare fruit juices and show them how to make them without any extra sugar. It will turn consuming fruits and vegetables into a fun activity that you can enjoy together. Children often just love orange juices and lemonades, and fun activities to help them involve encouraging a lemonade or fresh fruit juice stand.
Do: Chop fruits and vegetables
The thing many children don’t like about fruits and vegetables is not so much the taste but the texture. Particularly with vegetables, these foods are difficult to chew and often much too big for little mouths to eat. Making a chopped salad will disperse the taste of the fruits and vegetables while making it all much easier for them to chew. You can use lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, or even cabbage combined with corn, raisins, carrots, or other sweet tasting fruits and vegetables.
Don’t use canned vegetables and fruits
If your child develops a particular liking to canned fruit or vegetables, you may think that you have won this battle. However, canned fruits and vegetables often contain very high amounts of salt and sugar. Salt is just another one of those unhealthy taste preferences that your child might develop and carry with them for the rest of their life. Additionally, fruit and vegetable juices often contain high amounts of sugars, which is completely counterproductive when trying to give your children a healthy well balanced diet. Make sure that you check the nutritional content of the fruits and vegetables that you are buying, and try to stick with natural, organic foods as much as possible.
Don’t encourage kids to clean their plate
A very common thing that parents will tell their kids is to “clean your plate.” Healthy children will often eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full, and encouraging them to eat past their full-point, even if there are still untouched vegetables, will only help become less in tune with their body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. Additionally, research shows that children will eat larger portions if larger portions are placed in front of them. An easy thing to take away from this is to serve small to moderate portions of food except for vegetables and fruits and encourage them to eat until their full and provide them with additional servings if they ask for it.
Don’t reward eating vegetables and fruits with sweets
A very easy way to get your children to start eating more fruits and vegetables is to offer them a reward for intaking more fruits and vegetables in their diet, such as sugars, sweets, and other unhealthy, yet tasteful treats. The only thing that offering sweet rewards for eating vegetables and fruits will do for your kids is assist them see fruits and vegetables as less attractive than things like ice cream. Many studies prove that preference for foods will go down when children are given rewards for consuming them.
Don’t neglect the rest of the nutritional pyramid
Though fruits and vegetables are essential to growing bodies and minds, it is important to remember the rest of the nutritional pyramid and give your children enough servings of water, breads, meats and dairy products. Through many scientifically proven reasons regarding the nutritional pyramid, you are advised to balance a child’s diet with all aspects of the pyramid in order to maximize their body’s ability to metabolize and process the various foods. Additionally, it is important to remember that the serving sizes change as a child grows. For example, the minimum of fruits and vegetables needed for a two year old is about one cup of fruit and one cup of vegetables, while a three year old requires about one and a half cups of each.
One of the biggest frustrations that you’ll experience as a parent is trying to get your child to eat a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables. Children are often very impressionable, and things that truly electrify their taste buds such as soda, candy, and ice cream, will stick with them for their rest of their lives and help them develop unhealthy eating habits. Sneaking fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet is a great way to get them to start consuming fruits and vegetables regularly; however, you must make sure that you make your child aware of the benefits, nutritional value, and of the wonderful taste that fruits and vegetables contain.