Last week, when I took my child in for her 4 year check up. The doctor asked, “is she eating 5-7 veggies a day?” I, of course, grumbled, “sometimes?”. Quickly followed by commenting about the multivitamin I give her once a day to make up for the fact that I have a picky eater. She has not always been a picky eater, she ate just about anything until she was 3 years old. Then she only would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If your dealing with the stage, here is a helpful article. Being a nurse, I’ve always have tried to teach my kids healthy eating habits, but after my kid no longer would eat “green stuff” I struggled.
A good diet, consist on 20% proteins (eggs, meats, nuts, and beans) 20% fats (oils, butters) and 60% carbohydrates (fruits, vegetable and starches). Basically, I find the most struggle with the vegetables and one way I get them in is healthy snacks. Here are some ideas to help your kids get the needed amount.
The one thing my 4 year old will drink, is a green smoothie. We have an awesome smoothie base: using 1 frozen banana, 1 cup milk, and 1/2 cup yogurt. Then you just mix in what ever else you want, Spinach and Kale make it green. Carrots are also a great add in. There are a ton of healthy smoothie recipes out there. Any extras, I make into popsicles.
Left over smoothies are great for this as I mentioned above, just poor into popsicle molds. I will also freeze yogurt, fruit and granola in popsicle molds. They are so yummy even mom gets some of those. They also have some breakfast popsicle recipes made with cereal and yogurt, which you could easily blend in some fruit or veggie into the yogurt. I also stock the freezer with fruit and veggie popsicles when I go to the store. My kids think I am awesome letting them have unlimited popsicles, which don’t get me wrong, I am, sometimes at least.
Have your kids help you cook
My kids always get more excited to eats something if they’ve helped make it. Give them some choices, and let them get involved. Cooking is a basic skill that they would love to learn from you.
Homemade Fruit roll ups
It takes a little while but is worth it in the end. Like my other recipes, I will mix fruits and veggies to taste Then dry in the oven or food dehydrater. Here is a great starter recipe, you can make it your own with your choice ingredients.
Frozen fruit and veggies
For some reason, since my kids were babies they love frozen peas. They still eat them better frozen vs cooked. They also are known to snack on blue berries, black berries and strawberries.
Of course ranch and ketchup makes everything taste better, you could even try cheese dip or something else fun your kid would like.
Mix it in
My kids love mashed potatoes. My husband was running low and added in cauliflower to them. she did not know the difference. Pumpkin also makes a great addition to any sauce as it flavors really easily. They have an awesome recipe for veggies tots here, my kids love these.
Everything is better with cheese. Seriously though, we love cheese in our house. It is one of the things that me and my husband bonded over while dating. It is a staple in our home. We add to it broccoli, green beans, carrots and everything in between.
Kale chips, apple chips, banana chips, apricots or mangos. My kids will gobble those up. They are one of my kids favorite and do not last long in our home.
We usually have our filled to encourage healthy snacking. I will also let my children pick out some new fruits and veggies to try at the store. If they make the choice, they become more involved in eating it as well.
I always make a vegetable at meals and urge her to try it. One day she will hopefully eat it like she did when she was a baby. Hope this list helps you encourage healthy eating habits at an any age.