When it comes to nourishing the pickiest of eaters, having a few tricks up your sleeve can make all the difference. With time, continually introducing healthy food to your child will train his or her taste buds to seek out wholesome food. Until then, give a few of these tips a try.
1. Start with smoothies. Suitable as a meal or snack, smoothies are one of the easiest ways to pack extra nutrients into a child’s diet. Start with an age appropriate serving of high quality protein powder or nut butter. Add one cup of dairy free milk, coconut water or filtered water. Add 1/2 cup of fruit. Most children love berries but you may also like to experiment with mango, banana, or pineapple! Add some healthy fat in the form of 1 tbsp coconut or flax oil, or 1⁄4 of a ripe avocado. For an extra nutrient boost add a green! Spinach, kale or cucumber are mild tasting and are excellent options when starting out.
2. Bake with beans. Black beans can be pureed and made into the most delicious fudgy brownies that are also rich in protein and fiber. The same goes for white beans or chickpeas! Blend them into a smooth puree and incorporate them into low sugar cookies, muffins and breads.
3. Use a fruit bowl. Each week shop for a variety of beautifully coloured fruits to place in a fruit bowl in a spot that is accessible to your child. When asking for a snack encourage them to select a piece of ripe fruit from the bowl.
4. Sneak it into spaghetti sauce. Chop, grate or even blend vegetables and add them to your spaghetti sauce. Steam and puree any vegetable you can think of and add it in. Your child won’t know the difference but you will!!
5. Make your own kid friendly cold cereal. Kids love cereal because it’s tasty. Parents love cereal because it’s convenient. Unfortunately most conventional cereals are high in sugar, colours and additives. Make your own by using a base of health store brand low sugar cereal and oats. Add in nuts, seeds, coconut and dried fruit. On busy mornings top with dairy free milk, kefir or yogurt. Your kids will love it!
6. Dip it! Kids love dips. Slice up vegetables and serve them with homemade hummus or guacamole. Dip fresh fruit into nut or seed butter or yoghurt. Add “sprinkles” to dips in the form of shelled hemp seeds or freshly ground flax seed!
7. Get them involved. When children are involved in preparing their own food they are far more likely to be adventurous with their eating and make healthier food choices. Cooking, and eating, should be fun!