We know how difficult it can be sometimes to get your little ones to eat their greens! Our nutrition expert, Julie North, shares her tips on making healthy food easy… even with the fussiest of kids! Check it out below…
Image via food artist, Samantha Lee
Anyone with a toddler will know the frustration of some fussiness at the table. If you’ve got a kid who eats anything and everything, count your blessings! And if you don’t, don’t’ despair. You’re normal, your kid is normal, and the good news is, it won’t last. They are unlikely to be fussy as teenagers when they are eating you out of house and home!
A couple of key things to remember:
Keep offering plenty of variety. Kids can throw something on the floor one day and happily eat it the next.
Kids enjoying eating with their fingers, cut things small.
Don’t be afraid to hide things. A kid doesn’t need to know they’ve eaten zucchini to get the nutrients.
Some days kids just aren’t very hungry. You decide what’s on offer, but allow them to decide how much to eat. If it’s not a lot, offer a glass of milk and leave it at that.
Tips and easy recipes!
Use different shapes with vegetables: round cherry tomatoes (halved), corn wheels (corn cobs cut into 1cm slices), carrot sticks or cubes.
Carrot, zucchini, beetroot, pumpkin, sweet potato, and parsnip all grate well and can easily be added into mince dishes, casseroles or fritters.
Crumbed schnitzel is generally popular, cut into very small squares. Try beef, pork, or chicken.
Eggs are great– you can add all sorts of different vegetables into beaten eggs, with cheese and make a baked frittata or omelette (I do this almost every week!).
Keep cans of baked beans handy for a quick meal when you’re out of time.
Keep milk for a drink after meals, so it doesn’t fill them up too much.
Encourage your child to help in the kitchen; many kids love to make their own pizza with a variety of toppings.
Give things funny names; in our house edamame beans are called “popping beans” and both boys love the fun of popping them out of their pods into their mouths. If they accidently pop all over the table well that’s funny too. You want mealtimes to be happy family times.
Julie is a NZ Registered Dietitian and mum to two young busy boys. For many years she worked in child health and nutrition with Heinz across Australia and NZ, advising on nutrition standards for foods, and providing information for parents and caregivers. She has also been a member of government advisory groups on foods appropriate in early childhood and school settings.
It is easy to be idealistic about healthy diets, but feeding young kids is not always easy at all! Julie believes in trying to get it right 80% of the time. She encourages her boys to help in the kitchen and baking chocolate chippie biscuits is a favourite. Meal times and food are a great pleasure in life and eating well should be fun. And it should taste great too!