My teen is a vegetarian, and will pick the healthiest choices everytime. He is such a great role model for my tween, who at times has to be talked into healthy and veggie. We now have a new baby in the family, and she wants to be a good role model for her little brother, too! So, we've been creating new and old ways (from when my son was little) to eat healthier. Getting kids to eat their veggies can at sometimes be interesting to say the least!
There is a new book out Peas and Thank You that is full of simple meatless meals for the whole family. It of course is perfect for vegetarians, but for everyone who want to make healthier choices. We make several meatless meals a week, and all are absolutely delicious! I think somewhere along the way meatless meals were pegged as perhaps boring, this is NOT so! Here are some great ways to get your kids (and maybe you) to eat veggies!!
Grow them together! This is great on so many levels, it teaches them about our food, earth and nutrition. I feel it is so much better for them to know it doesn't just come from the grocery store.
Shop for veggies at your local farmers market. Talk about the seasons, which fruits and veggies are best during summer, winter, spring and autumn.
Plan out recipes with your kids. Have them look through cookbooks with you. Kids love being a part of what they get to eat. Take them shopping with you, have them help with the shopping list.
Cook with your kids. Give out age appropriate tasks like, reading out the recipe together, stirring, cracking eggs and pushing the button on the mixer.
Blend purees into your dishes, organic butternut squash is absolutely perfect in spaghetti. Blended spinach leaves in your lasagna is so healthy and unnoticeable :)
Make ice pops with pureed veggies! No, I'm not kidding. This week I blended spinach leaves with banana and made ice pops. They were green, so my tween was hesitant, but she absolutely loved them and said "Oh green bananas!" The baby absolutely loved them as well.
Bake together! Add pumpkin puree into cookies instead of eggs and then kids can eat the batter. Very yummy.
Use tiny cookie cutters to make cute shapes with your veggies. Tiny plates and cups from their tea set makes a fabulous and fun tea and/or fairy party. Add some homemade veggie dip, in a tiny bowl of course. At this point you've made it so fun, they usually forget what exactly they are eating.
Have them try each other's favourite veggies and have the other sibling explain why it is their favourite. They might be more opt to try it when big sister has explained why she loves it.
Finally, let them play with their food! Make fabulous carrot stick forts, with zucchini sliced roofs! It is so much fun for you too. See what you can make, then you can eat the pirate ship you made out of squash and peppers. (you know you want to try it) ;) Just a note: carrots sticks stand perfectly in fresh hummus dip which also just so happens to resemble sand that the pirate ship has just run aground on. (Sorry, got carried away) ;)
Mostly have fun with food, there are so many different tastes and varieties the choices and recipe possibilities are endless! Enjoy the whole process: Growing, shopping and cooking, and they will too. I would love to hear about the fun you and your kids have with food.
Visit the site Peas and Thank You!
Buy the book Peas and Thank You
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, visit Social Moms.