By far, the biggest traffic inducer to this blog has been discussing healthy eating for kids. It seems many, many parents are on this venture to know HOW to get their kids to eat better. Let me start by saying that we tend to be really patient with kids learning to walk, read, write, and learning how to ride a bike but want them to eat well NOW. And some kids do right from the start, but for many, it is a learnt skill.
My eldest was about 4.5 when he finally clicked into gear with natural foods. And his eating improved not long after ours, so I do think it was partly modelling. All kids want to be like their parents in some way so if they see you drinking green smoothies and eating salad and veg primarily then they will – eventually – want to do the same.
Mr 3 is still a battle but we are working on colours of food with him. You can present food in rainbows for example and tell them they need to choose 2-3 colours. My youngest LOVES yellow – so matching his yellow clothes, we have grown yellow tomatoes and serve up yellow capsicum, pineapple, banana, and whatever else is yellow.
This is going to be a long post but in the meantime for those desperate for ideas, here are some we have done:
They will eat anything if it is wrapped up with hommous.
Anything healthy baked into bread scrolls.
The sensational tomato sauce in pastry scrolls.
And no photo for these (yet) but pasties are a hit (cumin spiced veggies in pastry triangles) as well as nachos. I use ORGANIC corn tortillas (GMO corn is scary), the sensational tomato sauce (packed full of nutrition) and mashed avocado with lemon on top. The kids ADORE that. Just leave out the cheese and sour cream (they don’t need it), use fresh avocado and a goodness-packed tomato sauce and it is quite an awesome meal. I’ll post pics and a recipe next time I make it!
There was a book that came out some time ago about how to hide good veggies in ‘bad’ food for kids. Chocolate, zucchini slice and chicken nuggets dipped in cauliflower puree etc. Part of me does a happy dance when I see the boys eating lovely nutritious food that they don’t know they are eating!
But on the whole, I actually think that if we hide veggies, kids don’t learn that they are a normal part of eating and learn to enjoy their natural flavour. KJ has now started raw broccoli dipped in hommous. I could not believe my eyes at first but it is testament to – if you keep serving it (without fuss), eventually they will try it. It needs to become normal.
I detest children’s menus. Chicken schnitzel and chips, fish and chips, hamburgers… apart from the fact that I’m vegan, I just despair that restaraunts don’t see the value in salad and veg for kids. They know what parents want: something salty and fatty that will keep the kids happy and quiet when eating out!
I remember a pizza place in New Zealand served a “Healthy kids platter” and it was totally divine. It was a snack plate of nibbles – carrot sticks, cheese, ham rolled up, celery, bread triangles… that was in our pre-vegan days too but I LOVE that restaurant for valuing a healthy food option for children.
My kids would probably prefer rice, stir fry veg and some veg spring rolls. That’s their ‘norm’ for eating out. I just think we shouldn’t underestimate them.
This leads me onto school. What.the.heck is our school thinking calling themselves a healthy eating canteen when they serve hotdogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, nuggets and my most horror of horrors, SLUSHIES. NO children need a cocktail of petrochemicals and sugar at school. It is going to inhibit their learning, lead to difficulty in controlling their behaviour and thus, likely to end up getting them into trouble. I will most definitely be tackling the canteen at some point in our life together 🙂
Artificial colours are dangerous for kids. I’ll post more on that another day.
See spoonfed blog
Fed up with food additives has a HUGE amount of information, this link is particularly to artificial colours/additives numbers to avoid in foods. Print it out, take it with you. And their recipes
Jamie Oliver’s food revolution – recipes included.
In the mean time, see below for a birthday cake we made for my eldest’s 5th birthday. This is done using absolute natural, plant based colours.
And so was this one for his 4th:
The boys have never had a smartie in their life so this was a cheeky first for them. But they are also naturally coloured (although do contain dairy). The rest of it is dairy free and petrochemical free.
There are loads of options available these days where we CAN avoid the nasties in food. It takes a little research when you are getting into it…feel free to ask questions and as you’ve requested, I’ll put some more posting energy into kid friendly food snacks. 🙂