Getting Your Kids to Eat More Greens

Today, many parents are interested in learning how to serve nutritious, organic, and natural leafy meals to their families. Some children really enjoy this kind of food, but many prefer ketchup-coated white noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Making kids love green and healthy dishes can seem to be an impossible task.

If you would like to get your kids to eat more greens, consider the following tips:

Start Early
Establish preferences by serving veggies and other nutritious foods right from the beginning. Allow your baby to enjoy the taste of food without added salt and sweeteners. Encourage your toddler to start meals with a vegetable entree, a lightly seasoned salad or wholesome grain dish. Use spices instead of sugars to enhance the taste of bland food. Whatever a child gets used to ends up tasting good. If your child is already used to junk food, don’t pull the plug all at once. Instead, start adding spicy dishes to the menu. Vegetables that are colorful and nicely seasoned can be as appealing as candy. (But try to avoid plain boiled fare because kids (and adults) are unlikely to enjoy veggies prepared this way.) Gradually your child’s taste buds will begin to change.  After awhile, cut down on the sugary, fatty foods and replace them with truly flavorful healthy alternatives. No child is going to enjoy plain oats or unseasoned fish but most kids can learn to look forward to oats with seeds and natural, low glycemic index sweeteners and fish that’s been drenched in lime and salsa seasonings.

Transition the Taste Buds from All-Meat to Healthier Meals
If the kids are used to only a carnivorous diet, consider marinating chicken, turkey, beef, other meats and fish with herbs so that your children can get used to the warm, earthy flavor. Then you can start adding seasoned vegetables to complement the taste of the high-protein meals.

Search for Good Recipes
The internet is a treasure trove of great-tasting recipes, and you can even find the amount of fat and calories in each dish! With just a little experimentation you may come up with a new, healthier but just as tasty way to feed your family. Keep in mind that we’re not born knowing all there is to know about preparing delicious food. The popularity of cooking shows and cook books attests to the fact that people can spend a lifetime learning new ideas and ways to incorporate healthy (and delicious!) food into their diets.

Limit Sugars and Junk Food Treats
Sugar can “spoil” the appetite. Dowsing food with ketchup practically ensures that your child will be a junk junkie. Everything has to taste sweet or it doesn’t taste good. It only takes a week for taste buds to re-group. When you start to seriously decrease the sweets in your child’s diet, expect complaints for the first days. However, after only a short time, your youngster will actually begin to enjoy the taste of real food – believe it or  not! After decreasing sweeteners for awhile, you can remove them altogether except for special days (birthdays, visits with grandparents and so on) and weekends. Weekday meals can consist of proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables. Leave out the desserts! Kids can learn to LOVE eating this way. If you want to add snacks for school, either serve veggie sticks, purchase healthy treats or make your own healthy cookies and crackers. Allowing your child to have a small amount of non-nutritious foods (i.e. cookies when visiting at a friend’s house, cake on the weekend) helps to prevent a desperate craving for junk food. Unfortunately, parents who insist that their child eat ONLY nutritious food all the time, often discover that their kids will go to all lengths to have some of the candy and donuts that other kids routinely devour – stealing them if necessary! There’s no need to become overly strict. A generally healthy diet helps to ensure that your kids will enjoy the good stuff and only want the bad stuff in small doses. Real sugary foods don’t taste good to those who consume them only minimally.

Concoct Yummy Fruit Shakes and Yogurts
Instead of buying fast food milkshakes and ice-cream, why not blend a watermelon and kiwi cooler in the kitchen? Or mix fruits with yogurt and protein powder to make a great-tasting breakfast or snack. Homemade smoothies and soda’s can be both delicious and health enhancing. There are lots of good recipes for these, so go ahead and experiment. You’ll find that herbs (like peppermint and aniseed) can enliven beverages as can frozen fruit, powdered carob and other tasty and nutritious ingredients. Kale and pineapple juice work together to create a magical green smoothie.

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