Cooking healthy meals for kids can be a challenge for a parent.
This is especially true if the child is a picky eater. Fortunately, there are ways to make even the pickiest of eaters eat their fruits and vegetables. It is important to cultivate healthy eating habits in children so they can develop a positive attitude towards food. As they grow older and become adults, the positive attitude they have built over time will make them more open-minded eaters.
With enough creativity, you can cook fun foods for kids that are both nutritious and delicious. You can play with color, serve their food in fun shapes or get them involved in picking their favorite foods. Find different ideas for meals kids love in the sections below.
When cooking healthy meals for kids, consider whether it is appealing to their senses. Food appeals to all senses, one of the most important one being seeing. Using sandwich cutters for your child’s lunch is one of the best ways to engage your child’s senses. However, you do not have to just cut sandwiches into fun shapes. You can cut your child’s favorite fruits and vegetables in fun food shapes.
Just how you would serve dinosaur pancakes to your little one, you can create fun foods for kids by making star-shaped pineapples and strawberries. You can carve up some vegetables and make a sandwich with a face inside. Using some imagination can help you encourage these healthy eating habits within your child.
In order to make healthy meals for kids you must serve them healthy portion sizes. When you give them snacks, especially for small children, serve them finger foods. Some examples for healthy finger foods for kids are:
You can find out the servings your child needs to eat by reviewing the food groups for kids. Food pyramids tend to give a general overview what serving sizes are appropriate for the meals of children. Providing the right portion sizes is another method for developing healthy eating practices. Filling up larger plates can cause children to overeat, therefore making them gain unnecessary weight. It is also important for parents to encourage their children to eat slowly and not rush through meals. Showing these behaviors give children a chance to feel when they are full before they feel they can eat another serving.
If you want your food to appeal to your child’s eyes, then play with color. Making fun foods for children involves appealing to all their senses, especially small children. Toddlers love drawing with vibrant colors so putting those colors in their meals would encourage their healthy eating practices.
If you arrange the healthy meals for your kids by color, then toddlers and children are more likely to try an unfamiliar food. The color in the food is one of the main cues that sets expectations for the taste of the food or drink. Therefore, consider the visual impact for future meals for your children. Supporting your child in trying new foods that interest them is also very emotionally healthy for them.
Healthy meals for kids that is not common in your household may make your children apprehensive, so teach them slowly. Mix some healthy foods with the meals your kids love by adding some peas in their mashed potatoes or make spinach pesto pasta. Try different recipes that will diversify their meals with new and/or healthy ingredients alongside their favorite foods.
Consider what subject your child loves in this moment. Is it geography? Dinosaurs? Whales? Whatever your child is currently obsessed with can become a fun food for your child. For example, if they like whales, you can bake fun food shapes to make a whale-shaped blueberry dessert. If they are interested in geography, you can make dishes from different parts of the world. Arranging healthy dishes for children in this fashion will pique their interest and make them want to try the meal.
If you are packing lunch for your child, let them help you make healthy food choices. If you are preparing a healthy dinner for kids, let them choose the ingredients for the dish and perhaps let them cut the vegetables. Another way to get them involved is to take them grocery shopping and play grocery store games. This is one of the best ways to get them exposed to the options available. These are good ways to show your children the importance of healthy food choices, which will ultimately lead to optimum healthy eating habits.
While you are grocery shopping, let them choose some ingredients or ask them if they remember the names of certain foods. You can even create a grocery store game of “I spy” of the foods they might recognize. Whenever your children reach for a snack, they will make healthy food selections rather than go straight for cookies or chips.
As previously mentioned, to make meals your child loves, it is important to appeal to the senses of your child. Generally, children do not like eating bitter vegetables and are apprehensive about trying new foods. However, if you put those unfamiliar yet nutritious foods in a smoothie with some sweet fruits, then you will be making it a fun food for your kids. You can even freeze the smoothie in popsicle molds and turn it into a sweet summer treat. Liquid food does not just have to be for the kids but for the toddlers as well. You can provide toddlers with their daily serving of nutrients by liquifying them and hiding them in their juice.
To continue, children’s nutrients do not just have to come from a liquid. You can create a dip to combine with finger foods for kids for a snack. Combining a variety of fruits and introducing young children to different colors and textures from foods are a good way to promote healthy eating habits.