If there’s one concern I repeatedly hear from friends, neighbors, colleagues, and mothers at the day care, is that their kids don’t eat healthy enough.
That makes sense: we all love our kids and want them to be healthy, and since food plays a leading part in our health, we want to make sure we provide our children with high quality nutrition. But how should we go about creating healthy foods and then convincing our kids to eat them?
Well, “convincing” them would be my least favorable approach. If you make a fuss about wanting your kids to eat a new healthy dish, chances are they won’t. Why? Because, it’s new, because it’s not in the color they like, because they are scared of trying, because it’s not interesting enough, because there are more tempting things in the cupboard, and many times just because it’s their cute little way to draw your attention.
So what do I suggest? There are a few things that I’ve found helpful in my pursuit of getting my children to eat healthy. Here are 3 tips and 3 recipes that could set you off on the right track as well.
Tip #1: Set an example.
If you ask your kids to eat salad for dinner, while you munch on vegan pizza, you need to realize that it’s just not going to happen. Kids will usually imitate what they see and consider what they see at home as “normal”. So if you want their “normal” to be salad for dinner, it should be your “normal” as well.
Tip #2: Do it together.
There’s a task appropriate for every age, and getting kids involved in the preparation will get them excited about trying the food. My 3 year old daughter, who is now carefully cutting cucumbers with my guidance, used to stand next to me and pour the olive oil or just mix the salad when she was 2. It doesn’t matter what they do, it’s the fact that they participate in the process that will get them excited about the dish.
Tip #3: Learn how to present.
I’m not saying you should jump through hoops to make your food appealing, but some basic tricks always work with kids: they like it funny/cute, they like it in their favorite color, and it’s of course important that it will be tasty too, so no sharp flavors.
The following 3 recipes utilizes the instructions above: The vegetable muffins are decorated with simple muffin decorations to make your kids want to grab them (funny/cute), the calcium packed tahini is colored in purple/pink thanks to the beautiful color of beetroots (appealing color), and green leaves are combined in this delicious fruit smoothie.
Recipe #1: Vegetable Muffins
(Makes 20 mini muffins)
2 Carrots, peeled
½ Cup vegan milk (preferably soy milk or oat milk)
⅓ Oil (I use olive oil but other vegetable oils could work as well)
1½ Cups whole wheat spelt flour
1 tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Apple vinegar
1 Red pepper, diced
1 Bunch of parsley leaves, finely diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place the carrots, milk and oil in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
In a bowl, mix the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, and apple vinegar.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry one, and mix to combine.
Add in the diced red pepper and parsley and mix a bit.
Add pepper and salt to taste.
Pour batter into mini muffins tray and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit).
Use a toothpick to make sure the muffins cooked thoroughly, before taking out.
Recipe #2: Pink Tahini
(Makes 1 bowl of Tahini)
1/2 Cup raw sesame paste
1/2 Cup water (or more, as you reach the consistency you like)
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Garlic clove, minced
1/2 Roasted beetroot (You can also use raw beetroot, but I personally like the roasted version better).
Mix the sesame paste with the water, lemon juice, salt and garlic, until you reach a smooth, creamy blend. If needed, add more water to reach the consistency you like (thinner recommended for salad dressing and thicker recommended for dipping).
Puree the beetroot and add to the Tahini bowl, mix until the two are well combined.
Recipe #3: Strawberry Smoothie
(Makes 5 small smoothies)
1/2 Cup fresh strawberries
1/2 Cup frozen strawberries
1/2 Cup vegan milk (preferable soy milk or coconut milk)
1/4 Cup raspberries (or other berries of choice)
1/4 Cup spinach leaves
3 tsp agave/maple syrup
1/2 Cup ice
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and serve immediately.
Guest post by Moran Raskin – Vegan High Tech Mom
My name is Moran, I’m a mommy of two cute little girls, a full time high-tech employee, and a savvy home cook.
In my blog, Vegan high tech Mom, I share vegan recipes, tips and tricks for healthy cooking, and special interest projects. The blog is focused on healthy dishes that are also quick and easy to prepare (We are all busy people, right?).