July 20, 2016
School is out and the kids are home and hungry, what are you going to feed them? You want your kids to have a healthy relationship with food, but you also want them to enjoy life. The USDA dietary guidelines suggest half of their plates be filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, and that can lead to mealtime battles and lots of tears. Your job is to teach them that fruits and vegetables are just as fun as burgers and fries.
The obsession with healthy eating starts at a young age and lasts a lifetime. You can encourage that progression if you factor in a little more fun to get them to love the healthy stuff, too.
Your mom may have taught you not to play with your food, but maybe you should try a different approach; one that makes healthy eating fun through art. Fruits and vegetables are all about color – green beans, orange carrots, red apples. Your kids will love applying a little creativity to snack time.
Plastic cookie cutters are the perfect tool for little hands that are looking to create fun shapes with their food. Lay out an assortment of fruits and veggies, then let the kids go wild cutting out their own fun shapes. Slice up watermelons and use cookie cutters to make stars, fish and flowers. Other foods that work well for creating shapes include:
Basically, anything that is soft and sliceable will work. Use other fresh produce to decorate their creations. Peas make good buttons for a cucumber snowman. How about grapes for the eyes? With the help of your little food experts, you can make platters of healthy treats for them to munch on during the day or put them to work planning your next summer party or barbecue.
Use various fruits and vegetables the same way you would blocks. Slice up an orange and use the pieces to make a fruity cat. Cut up tomatoes and carrots and lay them out in the shape of a lobster. Make an educational game out of it. Pick an animal each day, for example, and find different ways to learn about it. What sound does it make? Where does it live? Put a picture of the animal up so the kids can see it and challenge them to recreate it out of the fruit and vegetable piece you lay out for the afternoon snack.
For more inspiration, see more than 40 fun food art ideas on our Natren Pinterest board.
When are fruits and vegetables more than just food you eat? When you and the kids use them to create cool smoothies that you can drink. Kids love to help and they love smoothies, too. You can use that to your advantage as you try to get them to love eating healthy.
The goal is to let them design their own smoothie combinations. Set up the table with a few practical ingredient choices to get them started like sliced bananas, strawberries and other assorted fruits. Give each kid a few bags and let them mix and match to create their dream smoothie. Once they fill their bags, you put them in the freezer.
Spend an hour a week helping them create their own personal smoothie for breakfast or as a cool snack – one for each day. Take the bags out and let them pick the one they want for that day. Pop the fruit and any other ingredients you want for the smoothie like juice, ice, coconut water or almond milk and blend. You can even let them help pick what they want in each smoothie. Different food choices enhance the flavor and texture of the smoothie. If you are trying to add probiotics to your kids supplement regimen smoothies provide the perfect opportunity, just remember that they don’t like to be blended (they are living cells after all) but they can be stirred into any smoothie just before serving! Our Natren powdered probiotics work excellent for this!
Don’t limit them to just fruits, either. Experiment with different types of vegetables to find combinations they will love. If you need some smoothie ideas to get your going, check out our Pinterest board for recipes.
There is nothing easy about getting your kids to love healthy food. Incorporating some fun into it will help, though. You’ll teach them the value of a balanced diet and introduce them to foods they will love for the rest of their lives at the same time.
The post Fun Ways to Introduce More Fruits & Veggies to Your Kids appeared first on Natren Probiotics Blog.
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