Getting your kids to eat their vegetables can be one of the greatest daily struggles for parents.
Building healthy eating habits takes a lot of effort for parents to sometimes battle it out with their children.
Start small and tackle one meal at a time.
Start off with breakfast and work on getting sugary cereals, pastries, and dairy off the menu. Substitute cereals for oatmeal and fruit, pastries for homemade muffins (recipe below), and dairy milk for almond or coconut milk to use in smoothies.
First and foremost, parents need to set the example to their children on how to eat properly.
Children easily pick up on the habits of their parents and will gravitate towards the eating style presented at home. Take a minute and think about the kind of example you are setting for your children.
• Do you make meal time a priority and prepare regular healthy meals as a family or are you picking up takeout on the way home from work because you are exhausted?
• What is your attitude towards food and your body image?
• What messages are you consciously or unconsciously sending your children?
Encouraging your children to take care of their health is one of the greatest acts of love a parent can give their child.
Mindset around meals and snacks can easily be shifted to a more positive experience by involving the family in making a weekly meal planning and grocery shopping
for the ingredients that will be needed to make the weekly meals.
Older children and teens can also take part in meal prep by washing vegetables and helping to prepare dinner
. Giving children a voice around their meal choices will help with encouraging healthier eating habits. Provide your children with a choice of what vegetables they are going to eat each day and add one wild card vegetable to the menu each week that they may not like, but are willing to try.
Tips and Tricks to Add Vegetables to Every Day Meals
• Throw a handful of spinach or kale into smoothies. Yes, the smoothie will be green, but the flavour and texture of the spinach is masked by the fruit in the smoothie.
• Use the food processor to turn cauliflower into the texture of rice. Sauté the cauliflower “rice” in a tablespoon of olive oil and season to taste.
• Spiralize zucchini into noodles to resemble pasta and top with your favourite sauce and veggies.
• Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta to make traditional spaghetti with meatballs (remember to use grass fed beef for the meatballs).
• Rather than ice cream for dessert, serve a plate of fresh fruit.
As promised, below is a recipe for healthy muffins that freeze well and are easy to serve as part of a healthy breakfast.
2 cups raw almonds, ground
2 free-range eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
12 muffin liners
Preheat oven to 350F. Grind raw almonds until fine. Mix eggs, coconut oil maple syrup, vanilla and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Add ground almonds and baking soda. Mix thoroughly. Fold in berries and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Evenly distribute batter between 12 muffin cups. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.