Wouldn’t life be easy if sugary cookies, cakes and cupcakes where all the body needs to be healthy? Unfortunately, these cupcake-super-foods only exist in a mother’s dream. We all know that good nutrition is important. It is especially important to children because they are still growing. Every nutrient plays an important role in the growth and development of some aspect of the body.
“My child won’t eat veggies!”
1. Sweet Potatoes- Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A which is essential for vision and healthy eyes. A single sweet potato (about 200 g) contains about 769% Vitamin A; as well as about 65% vitamin C, 8% calcium, 8% iron, 27% potassium, 16% copper, 26% (7 g) fiber, 4% protein, 7% vitamin E, 6% vitamin K, 29% vitamin B6 as well as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, choline, betaine, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and omeges 3 and 6.
2. Ranch Dressing- Kids LOVE ranch dressings! There are several different options, not all ranch dressings taste the same. But one thing’s for sure, there is more than likely a ranch dressing out there that your child will love. My son just turned 2 and has been eating salads for almost a year. He eats romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, mild peppers and just about anything else in a salad topped with ranch dressing.
3. American Cheese- God bless American cheese. American cheese has gotten my toddler to eat endless canned pea/carrot combinations and other vegetables. Kids love cheese in general but American cheese is one of the most popular. Mozzarella is another favorite, but it can be hard for smaller children to chew and swallow. Cheese is high in vitamin D and calcium which are essential to a child’s bone growth and development.
4. Salad Combinations- I’ve tried several different salad combinations that have caught my son’s attention and inspired him to eat healthy foods. For example different pasta salads with veggies, bean salads and veggie salads. The various colors and shapes tend to catch their attention. Experiment with various dressings such as seasoned oil, salad dressings and mayo to find different tastes that your child will enjoy on various salads.
5. Healthy Butter Replacements- Kids love butter! Find a health butter substitute that your child enjoys and melt it over their veggies. I recommend trying County Crock CALCIUM plus Vitamin D spread. In addition to vitamin D and calcium, it contains vitamin A and vitamin E. Thanks to this wonderful spread, my toddler will eat steamed zucchini and squash!
6. Honey Carrots- Try steaming sliced carrots then topping them with honey. (Honey should not be consumed by infants under the age of 1 year). Add about one tablespoon per carrot.
“My child won’t eat meats!”
1. Ketchup- Ketchup is another favorite of children everywhere. Try chicken nuggets, hamburger, turkey burger, fish, steak pieces, or tofu dipped in ketchup. Kids love finger foods and ketchup!
2. Baby Food- Try mixing meat containing Gerber baby foods into mac n’ cheese when your child doesn’t feel like eating meat. Baby foods are loaded with nutrients; it’s a win-win.
3. Ranch Dressing- Ranch dressing can also be good on hamburgers, steak, turkey and ham!
4. Cheese- Put a slice of your child’s favorite cheese on anything with meat!
5. Tuna Fish- Canned tuna fish is an excellent source of nutrition. A single can of tuna fish contains about 39 g of protein and 13% iron. It is also a great source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are essential for healthy brain development.
6. Mayo- Adding mayo to any meat generally makes it more desirable to a child. Any meat can be served in sandwich form too. Mayo is also an excellent source of omegas fatty acids.
7. Pasta- Try putting lean ground meat into ravioli, this tends to be a popular meal.
“My child won’t eat grains!”
1. Spread solution- The spread idea that we talked about earlier can also be used for grains. Wild rice, yellow rice, couscous and quinoa are all examples of grains that can be made desirable to a child by with healthy butter substitutes. Grains are essential sources of fiber, B vitamins and other nutrients.
2. Cheese solution- Melt a slice of your child’s favorite cheese over rice or any other un-refined grain for a healthy snack or side dish.
3. Crackers- There are numerous healthy crackers and cracker sandwich options out there that kids love. Many of these options contain whole grains, vitamins and fiber.
4. Cereal Bars- Cereal bars such as Gerber Graduates for toddlers cereal bars contain whole grains, enriched flour, electrolytes and even some fruit. These are excellent items for a healthy breakfast or snack.
“My child won’t eat fruit!”
1. Yogurt- Dipping various fruits into yogurt has always been one of my son’s favorite treats. The fruit provides a variety of vitamins and potassium and the yogurt provides calcium and vitamin D among other nutrients.
2. Natural Sugar- Try dipping various fruits into a little sugar. Don’t overdo it!
3. Cereal, pancake, waffles, muffins, etc- Adding fruits to cereals, homemade pancakes waffles and muffins can be a great way to ad a servine of fruit to your childs breakfast.
“My child won’t take his/her multi vitamin!”
1. Milk, yogurt or juice- If your child is not a fan of taking a multivitamin, try a liquid multivitamin added to milk, chocolate milk, strawberry milk, yogurt or fruit juice. Be sure to add some water to fruit juice for small children.
As a parent, we so badly want to see our kids eat healthy food. It’s not hard to get frustrated when they don’t eat their veggies. It is extremely important to never get angry with your child for refusing food. This can easily lead them to develop a fear towards meal times and a general dislike of eating.
It is important for parents to provide their children with a variety of foods on a daily basis. Your child will eat when he/she is hungry. If a child doesn’t eat the food you want them to eat, you are not being a bad parent by not giving in to what they want to eat. Simply, wait until they are hungry enough to try the food. More often than not, they will learn that the food they refused isn’t that bad.
Try not to overuse the same idea. Try a different method each day. Alternate methods and don’t forget to offer the food in its original form as well.