A lot of kids frown at the very thought of green vegetables. They do not even want to see them. The reason is a long story, going back to human evolution (but anthropology is not what this post is about). However, transforming vegetables into fried foods to convince your little ones eat them is not healthy. First of all, the different kinds of batter you dip them into cover their flavor, next because they lose a big part of their vitamins during frying and third, the kids end up eating fried batter with plenty of oil instead of the basic ingredient: vegetables. The best ways to cook them are steaming, slightly boiling, grilling or sautéing them (if necessary). Avoid frying them or cooking them in the microwave oven.
In general, remember that nutritional habits are a matter of education. You don’t have to nag to make them eat veggies, just encourage them to consume these foods on a daily basis, without pressure and stress. Here I have 18 ideas for you to encourage your kids to eat (more) fruit and vegetables (without giving you a hard time!)
- Make their food looking fun: they may be tempted to eat something that normally appears quite boring or tasteless to them! Use pasta cutter to shape their vegetables of fruit. Hearts, stars, moons are sure to excite them!
- Take the kids with you when you go shopping at the farmers market, the supermarket or the greengrocer’s. Talk to the greengrocer and ask him to explain to the kids which fruit and vegetables are in season, which grew in a greenhouse, what that means, etc. It is a good educational experience.
- Take the kids to a farm and collect fruit. This will give them the opportunity to learn where the fruit comes from and how it grows, i.e. on the vines, on the earth or on trees.
- Create with your kids your own vegetable garden. This helps the kids understand their cultivation and offers them a sense of pride since they eat the product of their own effort.
- Make fruit and vegetables easy to access. Have a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table and freshly cut fruit and vegetables in the fridge.
- Freeze bananas in the icebox. It is a delight!
- Praise your kinds and make positive comments every time they consume healthy foods.
- Explain to them the health benefits that fruit and vegetables consumption offers them.
- Prepare delicious fruit smoothies for the kids.
- Kids love “diving”, so prepare tasty healthy dips like houmous frequently.
- Cook with them this lovely Muffin with carrots, courgettes and cheese.
- Put in their schoolbags homemade pies like spinach and courgettes pies.
- All kids are keen on crisps! You can prepare kale or sweet potato crisps.
- Cook often vegetable soufflés with potatoes, sweet potatoes and courgettes.
- Mix sweet and savory risotto with yellow pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
- Prepare soups with finely chopped vegetables or veloutés like courgette soup, potato soup or appetizing lentil soup with sweet potatoes.
- Offer them mushroom burgers: after having sautéed the mushrooms over a low heat using extra virgin olive oil, blitz them in the blender until combined. Put them in a bowl and add cheese, gluten free flour and one egg and bake them onto a wax paper. Serve with a little cheese, bread and ketchup.
- Bake fruit in the oven like apples and drizzle with cinnamon. A perfect dessert!