Children in general find any sort of vegetable one of the most unappealing types of food that is ever served up on their plates and it is a parents’ nightmare to try and get them interested in anything which is remotely green in colour. On the other hand they do love hot dogs and burgers with lots of chips and baked beans, which is really the sort of food you want them to stop eating. You want them to have a healthier all round diet with more more vegetables so that they will feel fitter and certainly have more energy to do things other than sit at their computers or game consoles all day long. Low fat and low calorie foods doesn’t have to mean low flavour. Here are some ways to get children to eat more vegetables.
One good way to go about changing your children’s diets is to go about it slowly, with a lot of thought put into how you are going to convince them to eat better, healthier foods. You have to work out a strategy, and one which you are going to win without too much of a battle.
Most children do like sweet corn but hate peas, so try to serve up some delicious sweet corn bakes. Kids love burgers, so why not try them on veggie burgers and see if they notice, especially if you serve them up on the first few occasions with their favourite potato fries. Once you have succeeded getting them to eat the healthier low fat burger then cut out the French fries and substitute them with low fat, low salt crisps instead.
There are also plenty of ways of using vegetables imaginatively in your usual family meals. Firstly, avoid processed and convenience foods – even those marked low fat, reduced or low calorie – may not contain the healthiest of ingredients and are usually have high salt and sugar content. If you make flavoursome foods with herbs and spices, it will be the overall taste that is more noticeable than the individual ingredients.
For example, chopping up carrots very finely to include in spaghetti bolognese or chilli con carne is a good way of introducing more vegetables. Instead of serving up plain boiled greens go for high colour, high nutrition with something like a ratatouille. When it comes to Sunday’s roast dinner, throw in piles of vegetables to roast – it’s surprising how different they taste if you lightly season and add a little olive oil.
The other way to make your child’s diet healthier is to consider what the whole family eats. Instead of walking past all those fabulously exotic looking fruit and vegetables at the supermarket, why not try a new one each week? You can easily look up the best ways to cook them and find interesting and appetising recipes.
The way to get your children to eat healthier foods must not be a battle and you cannot expect them to have a complete change of diet overnight. That would not be fair to ask of them and the results would be disastrous.
Try to get them to eat as much fresh fruit as possible. Find out which fruit they really like and then buy it for them. Some children hate apples but love pineapple, so it is just a question of finding which fruit your kids really enjoy eating and making sure there are always some around for them to eat when they are at home.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for kids who are rushing off to school, so make sure they do eat a good healthy one with lots of fibre and make sure it is one that will keep them going until mid-morning, so they don’t sneak off and buy loads of packets of crisps because they are starving. It’s not good to start the day with low fat foods that don’t provide sufficient energy so choose slow release foods that are still reasonable or low in calories. Find ways to have veggies for breakfast too – it will certainly make the start to the day interesting.
It is hard to stop children from buying themselves junk food when they are not with you, but if you get them to eat a better diet when they are at home at least you are getting them on the right track to feeling a lot healthier. They will realise the benefits in the end as well, because they will have so much more energy to do things they want to.
Appearance is everything for kids these days, so when they look healthier, trimmer and fitter they will want to stay looking that way. One thing to remember is to occasionally take your children out for a treat, just once in a while so that they feel like it is a special occasion.