Getting Kids to Eat More Greens – 5 S’s for Success
As a Mother of 4, one of my biggest pleasures in life is feeding my kids nutritious meals. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as I hope it will be! I tend to romanticize while making my evening meals, thinking to myself, “My family will all love dinner tonight! They will wipe their mouths, clear their dishes and give me a hug to say thanks for your efforts Mom!”…..and then I am reeled back into reality when I hear, “No way I am eating THAT! It’s GREEN!”
So for all you masterful mommies out there trying to feed your children nutritious meals, here are some helpful hints to get these nutrient-packed foods into your wee-wellness-warriors:
SMOOTHIES! This is one of the easiest ways to get some greens into your kids’ diets. A handful of spinach is hardly detectable and the flavor can easily be masked by fruit (use darker fruit like mixed berries to mask the color too). A children’s cup with a lid is also an easy solution for those stubborn eyes! Try starting with a 3 to 1 ratio (3 fruits to 1 green) Be creative; who said you can’t put a little zucchini in a smoothie?!
START ‘SMALL’! Younger children might be a little pickier and you may need to do a little “sneaking” for these ones. Chopped kale can be thrown into just about any dinner meal without so much as a second glance from the youngsters. An entire bunch can be finely chopped and put into soups, fajitas, pot pies, pizzas or pasta dishes like lasagna and spaghetti. The key is to chop it small enough so that it cannot be easily picked out. If you’re not already, get familiar with KALE. Even a little of this dark leafy green packs a powerful punch for our kiddos.
SET THE STAGE! “Children have never been great at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” If you want your kids to eat their greens, then you need to do the same. We can’t fall into the old adage, “Do what I say and not what I do”. Want to make an impression? Walk around the house munching on a whole cucumber – if they don’t notice, their friends definitely will!
SOLICIT SUPPORT! Get your kids involved. Children’s minds are like sponges that are anxiously waiting to be filled. Teach them why we want to eat broccoli, spinach, celery and lettuce. Excite them by teaching them about the powerful “PAC-MAN” qualities of veggies. Let them CHOOSE the vegetable in their lunch or dinner. Have them help with a garden or the grocery shopping. It’s often easier to do things ourselves, but our children will benefit from being involved (especially when they sense approval from Mom). And of course, don’t forget to invite Dad to jump on board. Healthy kids are a TEAM EFFORT!
STOCK FOR SUCCESS! Let’s be honest, if you want your kids to eat their greens, then you need to actually stock your kitchen with them!!! Find the ones that you know your kids will eat and make sure to have them on hand as well as a few others for them to keep on trying. Their little tastebuds will eventually “hatch” and someday they’ll thank you for it. You mommies are busy women, so take some time each week to clean and chop veggies that can be kept in the crisping drawer in the fridge. When snack time comes around, your kids can reach for the fridge instead of the pantry. (Keep some tissue on hand for that day when you shed a little tear for your success!)
Following these 5 simple hints you can jumpstart your family’s health today! Your meal times will have less resistance, you will feel like “ya done good”…AND you never know… GREEN might become your children’s favorite color!