I get this question quite often when parents are working on their own health and nutrition. "If I am making these changes, is it okay for my growing child to practice eating this way?". And the answer is most definitely YES!
But HOW? I know, getting kids to subscribe to the roasted Brussels Sprouts, tempeh, sauteed veggies, and tofu might be tough to implement. But not to worry.
There are a few ways you can get your kids eating more nutrient-dense plants without the battle of wills coming into play. My kids are not unordinary kids: they too have their strange likes and dislikes, and it used to be such a chore to incorporate veggies into the everyday lineup for them. But now they get a variety of veggies, fruits, legumes, and healthy fats, all from plants, and I know that their bodies are staying happy and healthy because of it. Here are the ways that you can add more fruits and veggies to your child's daily diet:
Add legumes into sweet treats! Like I had posted earlier, most of my kids love these brownies, and with a super special secret ingredient, I feel good knowing that they are getting a good dose of fiber with their treat! You can use black beans, chickpeas, and Canelli to make really delicious brownies and cookies! Check out my Instagram post with the recipe HERE!
Throw it in a smoothie and add whipped cream and sprinkles! Kids are kids, let's be real! And nothing is going to change their minds about sitting down to eat Brussels or cabbage. BUT, having a healthy shake that you can use to hide some of those leafy greens, squash, or tofu( yes, I've done it!) and adding some flair to it will go A LONG way! Our family loves this shake and my kids drink it daily!
"No, thank you" bites. We do have our kids try new things at dinnertime. Whether that is a new veggie or a style that it's cooked, we expect them to give each new thing a try to get used to eating a variety of food prepared in different ways. We call this technique "no thank you bites". Learned from a friend years ago, I took this technique and ran with it because my kids are big-time carb lovers. Often times when they try something they discover that they like something, or they decide that they like that veggie raw versus cooked. We have successfully added dishes like veggie lasagna, asparagus, stuffed peppers, and lentil meatballs by trying this simple technique.
It is important for kids to feel empowered about the decisions behind their food, so I also make sure to chat with my kiddos about "green light, yellow light, and red light foods". You can learn more about these foods in this book by Dr.Sears that is super educational and opens up a discussion about how food makes our bodies feel.
The last bit I would suggest is to find a way to grow something with your kids. If you are low on space, herb gardens make a great option. If you have room in the yard, think about a raised garden bed and think of veggies together as a family to grow. We loved our raised beds in our old house, and my kids would snack on cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, zucchini, snap peas, basil, mint, cilantro, and parsley! Container gardens work well too, but I am still learning with those.
P.S. If you need some fresh ideas for meal plans, I work with busy moms who are short on time and want to reach their health goals with the help of a 1:1 wellness coach like me. In my EDIT: Your Life program, you work on 12 aspects of your life to shed the last 10-20 lbs, bring more peace and joy to your life, and never need another fad diet again! Schedule your free consult HERE, or click HERE to grab more info on the program!
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