Recently my brother-in-law stayed with us for a few days and one night at dinner he told me how impressed he was at the variety of food the kids ate and how healthy their diet was. After beaming with pride (and hoping he didn’t see the candy in the cupboard) I started to think about what makes eating healthy SO hard for kids. Don’t get me wrong my kids eat their fair share of treats and junk food but on a general scale they’re very good eaters. I have a lot of tips I’ve learned the hard way for getting my boys to eat a variety of foods and make healthy choices, but today I wanted to introduce or remind you of foods for even the pickiest eater.
1. Sweet Potatoes: The ultimate super food. I never gave these little babies a chance but once a year smothered in marshmallows at Thanksgiving. And while I lay in bed and dream of that every night, we’ve found a thousand different (healthier ways) to partake of the Sweet Potato. Our ultimate way of choice is by way of the Fry, what can we say we’re American? My kids honestly don’t know the difference between a fast food fry and our homemade sweet potato fries. In fact they prefer the ones I do which I make using this recipe. Sweet Potatoes are high in B6 which aids combatting degenerative diseases, Vitamin C which of course boosts are immune system but also helps the healthy formation of bones and teeth as well as Vitamin D which aids in our energy and mood levels among a thousand other health benefits.
2. Guacamole: My one true love. It’s like Christmas when my avocados ripen (how funny and true is this pin?) and I can sit down to a little chips and dip. Guacamole CAN be a little difficult for kids with texture issues. Quinn doesn’t enjoy it quite like Jude does for that reason. But if you have a kid that loves to dip, try switching out the ranch or ketchup occasionally! Avocados are the MVP of Guacamole and are raging with health benefits. Did you know that an avocado contains more potassium then a banana? Crazy! They also are fantastic for your cardiovascular health and can help promote proper nutrition absorption in your kids! For you pregnant mammas out there, 1 avocado contains 23% of your suggested daily folic acid intake which is crucial for combating certain birth defects. You get what I’m saying right? They’re incredible. I like to use this recipe for my guacamole and cut down the jalapeño in half since my oldest definitely likes food milder. Alternatives to chips would be: cucumbers, carrots, sweet peppers etc..
3. Eggs: There are a million benefits to eggs but the one that seals the deal for me is that they keep my kids full longer. Ever feel like you’re feeding your family 372 times a day? I know I do when I’m not feeding them nutrient dense food. Eggs keep my kids full FOREVER. They like to eat them any way they can get them but recently they have preferred them hard boiled. I bake mine in a 24 count muffin tin at the beginning of the week and we are making more by Wednesday!
4. Salmon: I know what you’re thinking…”this chick is insane, my kid is not going to freaking eat fish.” I thought the same thing and so I never fed it to Quinn when he was little. I tried it once and he was hooked, now he will tell you it’s his favorite food! So much of why our kids won’t eat is because we won’t feed it to them. We figure they will only like “kid-approved” foods like macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. I think by offering our kids a variety of food, we might be surprised about how much they love! Just because you offered it once and they didn’t like it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again another time. And breaking news–salmon is SO EASY and quick to cook. Marinate salmon with things your kids already enjoy like citrus juices or tomatoes! Be sure to buy wild salmon as it is lower in Mercury and high in Omega 3’s.
5. Pistachios: These serve a dual purpose. Both as a healthy snack and a time filler. It takes Quinn at least 2 minutes to crack open a pistachio. I can clean the kitchen before he’s had a handful! And he’s so pumped every time one cracks open. Pistachios aid against heart disease, promote healthy blood in your body through high amounts of B6 and are even shown to improve eye health! Plus they are the tastiest.
6. Noosa: Yoghurt from heaven. This stuff is crazy good. I’ve tried nearly every Greek Yogurt & Noosa wins forever and ever. Honestly I bought it because of the packaging and it’s flawless design. You can make me buy ANYTHING with beautiful branding (advertisers take note) but was pleasantly surprised when I took it home. Pleasantly as in we ate two cartons in a day. The yoghurt is the creamiest in all the land, sweetened with organic honey and then on the bottom lies a blanket of fresh fruit puree that will knock your socks off. Our family goes crazy over Strawberry Rhubarb and Mango. Trust me when I say your kids will think they’re eating a dessert! I’ve seen this at most local grocers and health food stores. It is a touch pricey but they have a coupon on their site for a whole $.55 off! I mean it’s ridiculous, but trust me when you taste it you’ll get why you would pay $4 for the carton.
7. Mango: Duh Jenna kids like fruit. But let’s talk about the under appreciated Mango. It just doesn’t get a ton of air time in most households. Sometimes I forget about it and then I bring it home and it’s like part of our family was missing but now is back. It sounds dramatic but if you haven’t already gathered from this post, food is of the upmost importance to me. My favorite thing to make for my kids is a mango smoothie or a mango salsa for over (you guessed it) salmon! Or just eat it plain because it’s just that good. Mango is rich in anti-oxidants that can help sustain your body against cancer, improves digestion which can be a problem for a lot of kiddos and best of all boost their immune system!
So guys there you have it. In the words of Yo-Gabba-Gabba “try it you’ll like it !” Let us know how it goes, and please add any underrated health foods your kids love so we can try them out on our boys!
More ways to health-ify your kids’ foods: