Sneak and show

At the discussion we had on Tuesday at Giggles N’ Hugs many of the moms explained that although they hide healthy food in their kids meals and snacks they were dissapointed that their kids wouldn’t eat healthier foods as well as fruis and vegetables when offered on their own.

It’s great to sneak the healthy stuff in because you know your kids are getting the vitamins and nutrients that they need (as well as you and your spouse getting those nutrients too!)  However, you still need to offer the healthy foods (fruits and veggies) as the side items as well.  This is good for 2 reasons, as kids get older and smarter they don’t catch on that you are putting something in their food that they don’t know about and they get to see the foods whole and available every time they sit down to eat, which enables them to get an appreciation for the specific foods tastes and qualities.

Kids palates are constatly changing and you can offer them something 49 times and then on the 50th time they  will eat it.

Kids are also influenced by their surrounding and will eat foods their friends are eating, sometimes this works to your advantage if their friends are choosing healthier foods.

Do NOT put your kids food choices in a box and say “my kid will only 5 foods.”  You are only offering them 5 foods that they have declared they will eat – there is a difference.  They love mac and cheese, they can have it once a week and the other 6 days they have to pick something else eat.  Your kids won’t starve, they’ll learn to think outside the mac and cheese, chicken nugget, hot dog box!  And just like every other parenting issue (think back to sleep training…) it’s going to be tough and will take time to instill.  Stay strong and make sure that you and your spouse are putting up a united front!

Try this trick:  Many kids enjoy meatballs and spaghetti and there are a few modifications you can use to make it healthier and more filling.

Try using ground chicken or turkey instead of meat, you can often find chicken and turkey breast.  You may want to add additional liquid or egg to your mix to help increase the moisture level.

Instead of breadcrumbs, use oatmeal.  Not only is oatmeal a fantastic source of protein, complex carbohydrates and oatmeal; but it’s also high in fiber so it will keep you fuller longer.

Add flax seed to the meatballs.

Grate, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, mushrooms, celery, eggplant, or bell pepper in to the meatball mix.  it will be so fine and covered in sauce no one will notice it’s there!

Make your own tomato sauce or use one that has vegetables mixed in.

Use whole wheat pasta or white-whole grain pasta.

Serve this with either a side salad or a little veggie plate with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, baby corn and broccoli.

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