10 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies – and Like Them

Légumes

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With the emphasis on kids eating healthy, one of the biggest challenges is to get them to eat enough vegetables. Here are 10 suggestions for helping kids eat their veggies and enjoy them, too.

1. Cut up raw veggies and put them in little baggies in the refrigerator. This way they can have their own single-serve snack sack.

2. Let your child help choose vegetables at the store for your family to eat. Talk about the different kinds of vegetables while you are there. They can even feel some of the vegetables and note the different textures.

3. Offer a small serving of a vegetable with a healthy dip and tell them they can ask for seconds when they finish. Be sure to see the next edition of this blog, www.CookingandKids.com, for a healthy dip recipe.

4. Let your child help you prepare the vegetable. They may be more apt to eat it if they have a hand in the preparation.

5. Remember not to overcook vegetables. Have them slightly crisp and crunchy. They will have a brighter color and taste better than soggy, overcooked vegetables.

6. Serve vegetables as finger-food-appetizers. When you are cooking dinner and the kids are hungry, steam some broccoli, carrots, or other vegetable and put them out for the children to eat before dinner.

7. Use praise and maybe resort to rewards. Praise can really make a difference in how a child likes a food. Some parents have  resorted to using stickers as rewards.

8. Keep offering children vegetables, even if they say they don’t like them. Repeated exposure tends to get them more accepting of the food.

9. Use the “one bite rule”. Tell them they need to eat at least one bite before they say they don’t like it.

10. Hide vegetables in foods like muffins and casseroles. When your children find out your “method”, you can have a guessing game: “What is the Secret Ingredient?”

It’s important to start early by offering your children a variety of foods. Make mealtimes fun and show by example your interest in food and enjoyment in preparing and eating.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate
Author of award winning cookbooks
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

After-School Snack Ideas

Here are a couple more snack ideas that missed the deadline for making it into the ebook, How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas. Hope you will enjoy.

Tortilla Treats

Flour Tortillas with Spicy Beef
Flour Tortillas with Spicy Beef (Photo credit: mars!)

1 (7-inch) soft tortilla
1/2 teaspoon Dijon or other mustard
1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced

Spread mustard on tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and onion. Heat in pan until cheese has melted and then roll up. Or you can roll up and wrap in foil. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Cut in half. Dip in salsa.

“Personal” Trail Mix

1 cup oat cereal such as Cherrios
1/2 cup whole-wheat pretzels
1 cup small cheese crackers
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or peanuts
8 oz. sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Mix, pack in little baggies, or store in air-tight container, and you’re set.

Order the ebook How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas here and add these recipes to your snack list.

Let’s stay healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author
http://healthykidseatingtips.com/home/

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Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

What child doesn’t come home from school starved? Are you prepared with healthy snack choices?

photo : Utilisateur:Wilrondeau

Perhaps you have a shelf in the refrigerator or a place in the pantry or other area where kids have easy access to healthy snacks. An effort needs to be made, though, to have healthy snacks available.

You control what you have in the house for food. You’re the one deciding what your child is eating at home. Is it going to be some quick packaged food with limited food value or a good quality appetizing snack they can prepare themselves?

For help in deciding what to have for healthy snacks, I’ve developed an entire collection of snack ideas for kids, “How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas.” These are food ideas children can prepare themselves, or if very young, with adult help.

This guide to after-school snacks includes lots of healthy and nutritious choices. As eating healthy is of such national concern, chances are your kids are being taught at school about making good choices. This ebook guides them in making good snack choices at home.

In this ebook you will find foods that can be prepared quickly so that the snacks are ready after school or anytime kids get hungry. This prevents the usual reaction of reaching for a quick fix of high calorie, high fat and/or carbohydrate foods.

I know that even very young children love to get involved in planning and preparing their own snacks. And they are more apt to eat the food if they have prepared it. Preparing their own healthy snacks gives children responsibility for what they eat. They also know what goes into the food.

Teachers as well as parents will appreciate this collection of snack ideas. There are many ideas for snacks that can be prepared without the stove or microwave. Teachers and parents really appreciate this.

Food is meant to nourish and sustain  – not only to fill up. I invite you to go to healthykidseatingtips.com and order your copy of “How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas” right now right here and start helping children have better and healthier snacks.

Let’s stay healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author
www.healthykidseatingtips.com

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Helping Kids Eat Healthy

Fast food and other convenience foods are a big

Eat your vegetables!

part of modern life these days. This makes it harder
for families to instill healthy eating into their meal
plans.

The cheapest and easiest foods are those that
are normally the least healthy. If you give your child
the choice between healthy food and junk food, you
probably won’t like the results.

Even though it isn’t possible to get a child to like
all healthy foods, there are some ways to get your child to try them.
Hopefully, they will like at least a few of them.Getting kids to eat healthy
can be a daily challenge.

– Call fruits and vegetables by funny names. You
can refer to broccoli as “trees”, making them
more fun to eat. Spinach makes big and strong
muscles, according to Popeye. There are many
different names you can call fruits and vegetables,
even making up your own if you prefer. Most kids
prefer to eat foods that sound fun.

– Enhance the flavor of foods. Ranch dressing is
great for broccoli, while peanut butter is a great
topping for celery. There are several combinations
for vegetables that can make them taste more
acceptable. You can let your young child pick a
topping for a vegetable, even if it’s something
you wouldn’t normally like yourself.

– Dress the vegetables up. Just as much as calling
them names help kids eat healthy foods, making them
look funny also helps.You can do this by making
funny designs on the plate, or setting them up to
look like people, such as a stick person with little
carrots for a body. Although some parents don’t like
their kids playing with their food, sometimes it helps
to get them to eat healthier.

– You might even be able to include foods that
are not their favorites into different dishes. If
soups with ‘not so favorite’ vegetables are being
prepared, by pureeing the soup, who knows what
vegetables are there? Spinach can go on top of
pizza. Apples and bananas can go into muffins,
undetected.

There are several ways to help your kids eat
healthier, but to make them enjoy it also has to
be fun as well. This isn’t always an easy task.
It can however, be done with a bit of creativity.
Hopefully, doing this will help your child develop
a love of healthy foods for the rest of their lives.

To your health and that of your family’s,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate, author
http://www.HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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What Parents Feed Kids at Home Makes a HUGE Difference

The school lunch cooks will have a really hard time getting kids to eat healthy if all they get at home are chicken nuggets and fast food. Many of the lunch room crowd work really hard in getting food that is required on plates, looking appetizing, and tasting good. Yet, if they don’t get the support from home, it’s an uphill battle for them.

Many parents, too, are so used to eating out and having the usual fast food fare that eating otherwise is just too much trouble. Yes, it does take time to plan, shop, and cook, but it is worth it. Someone has to step up and do it if kids are going to be accepting of healthier foods.

Then too, more schools (elementary and secondary) need to focus on classes that include nutrition and healthy eating. Too many classes that taught these subjects have been eliminated. And what could be more important than learning about food and how important it is for healthy living?

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
child nutrition advocate
www.HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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10 Ways to Shop Healthier at the Grocery Store

When you go to the grocery store you are challenged to make food choices that have serious and often  life-threatening

Example of an American grocery store aisle.

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implications. You are bombarded by attempts to control your eating habits in unhealthy directions. Here are 10 health awareness actions you can take while at the grocery store.

1. Place the emphasis on buying vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose dark green and yellow vegetables, rich in beta-carotene and other health benefits. Select vegetables in the cabbage family, such as cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, Brussel sprouts, kale.

2. Avoid unhealthy products that provide only empty calories, even if they say sugar-free and fat-free, this includes sodas, pop, and other drinks.

3. Find out when the produce and bread is delivered to the store and buy at that time.

4. When you buy oils, buy only in small quantities you can use soon and keep them in a cold, dark place.

5. Always check labels and the expiration dates.

6. Ask the store manager to display the origins of all produce, as well as any pesticides, fumigants, and waxes used. The waxes on fruits and vegetables often contain fungicides, insecticides, and pesticides.

7. Buy organic foods if possible and buy locally when available.

8. Tell your grocery manager that you will not buy genetically altered foods.

9. If buying coffee, check to see whether organic coffee is sold. By buying organic you won’t be drinking coffee with high levels of pesticides and you will be helping the organic coffee growers in the Third World.

10. Just because you shop in a health food store doesn’t mean all products sold are healthy. They possibly will also carry candies high in saturated fat (palm, palm kernel, coconut, and chocolate), and loaded with refined sweeteners such as corn syrup and fructose. Again, read labels.

When you go to the store, be prepared and resolved to buy foods that are healthy for your family. Your health depends on it.

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Nutrition Advocate
www.healthykidseatingtips.com

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School Lunches Work to Reduce the Salt, Sugar, Fat-Conditioning

Here is a new announcement about an important topic:  kids’ school lunch programs. See the article at Putting Real Food in School Lunches.

ALEXANDRIA, VA - JANUARY 25:  U.S. first lady ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

There is still some industry-sponsored congressional meddling, but the plan is much improved from previous years.

It has been found that nearly 40 percent of the calories American children eat come from empty calories – cookies, sodas, pizza and the rest. This has resulted in paving the way for “picky eaters” with dull palates.

One of the big problems will be getting the kids to eat the healthier food unless it is reinforced on the home front. If children eat healthier at home then the changes in the school lunch program will go much smoother.

To healthy kids,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate

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Kicking the Sugar Habit After the Holidays

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After all the Christmas goodies, it is hard to get back into a schedule of healthy eating. Our bodies may be so attuned to eating foods with a high sugar content that the craving for sugar continues.

Just as with any other addiction, sugar craving needs to be controlled. This includes cutting out artificially sweetened foods as well. Getting the sugar habit under control is especially important for children for health reasons as well as weight control.

How can parents help their kids get off the sugar train?

  • First of all, those desserts and holiday candies need to be out of the house by now. As the expression goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Stock your cabinets and refrigerator with fruits and vegetables instead of chips, cookies, and candies. Yes, fruits are a source of sugar but they also provide vitamins necessary for good health.
  • Start your kids off with a good breakfast. By this, I don’t mean a bagel or bran muffin, but foods more nutritious such as a vegetable omelet, some oatmeal with chopped almonds, and fresh fruit.
  • If you are the chief meal planner and one who prepares the meals, eliminate sugars and any sugar derivatives (honey, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose syrup and the like) from the menu. Plan  meals in advance, shop intentionally, based on what you need, and prepare the meals at a set time.
  • Pack the meals with plant-based foods from the vegetable group, the fruit group, small amount of grains, beans and legumes, and high-quality protein sources from animal or plant protein sources such as seafood, poultry and lean meats.
  • Set a good example by not eating foods with sugar. This means eliminating any “diet” soft drinks and other processed, sugary foods as well.
  • Take your kids shopping and ask them to help you make dinner or prepare their school lunch. Praise them for their good choices.
  • Have pitchers of water handy so your kids can drink this anytime. Kids should drink water rather than any soda or other sweetened drink.
  • One of the biggest helps is for parents to teach kids the value of staying active and exercising. When they are playing baseball, hiking or biking they are not as apt to want a piece of cake. Then, have some healthy snacks when they are through, such as nuts or peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, carrot sticks, etc.
  • Your child may be tempted to eat sweets, just as you, perhaps, are tempted. Try to get past the temptation by focusing on another activity. Perhaps on some hobby you have, or a pleasant experience you had.

Some like to use visualization when this happens. They imagine and visualize how much healthier they will be without the sugar, or they will see a firm, slender body if they don’t indulge. Sometimes it helps to just tell our body what we need and what we don’t need.

To your success,

Lee Jackson

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Fall Foods Provide Nutritional Meals for Families

Cooler fall temperatures call for foods to warm you up. Here is a recipe that will make your kitchen smell wonderful, taste great, and

Vegetable Soup for a Crowd

Image by lynn.gardner via Flickr

ward off the chill of the season. You may want to add a fresh green salad and bread, muffins, or whole wheat crackers. You will have a quick and easy nutritional meal for your family.

I always enjoy recipes I can put together without having to run to the store for ingredients. This one will have you using what you have on hand and finding it easy for children and others to put together.

Colorful Fall Stew

2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 cup water
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
6 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into small cubes
1 large green pepper, seeded and diced
1 large red pepper, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen

In a large kettle over medium-high heat, add water and chopped onions. Cook until onions are softened. Children can help cut potatoes and peppers into small pieces. Add the vegetables and seasonings, except salt and green peas. Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste to see if the stew needs salt or more seasonings. Or, if family members need to cut down on salt, you can eliminate it. At end of cooking period, add green peas and cook until just heated through.

This recipe retains the goodness of the vegetables and is prepared without any fat. Leftover soup can always be reheated easily for an almost instant nutritious meal.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson

Food and Family Living Advocate
http://www.imagesunlimitedpub.com

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Sugars, Sodium and Fats – 3 Factors in Healthy Diets

From left to right: bottle of soy oil, canola ...

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You’ve all heard the advice, “cut down sugars and sodium and trim the fat”. You say: I know sugar when I see it”, but do you know you’re eating sugar when any of these ingredients appear on the food label?
corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, honey, molasses, syrup, lactose, mannitol

Any of the following ingredients indicate the food product contains sodium:
salt, baking soda, baking powder, monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, sodium nitrate, sodium saccharin, bouillon, meat tenderizer, and any of the flavored salts such as onion, garlic, celery.

Fats in food have received a great deal of press. “What are the good fats and the bad fats” we want to know. What about saturated and unsaturated fat? Very confusing.

Fat in food is composed of two major types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are further classified as either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Foods contain combinations of the three types of fat. However, most foods contain a majority of one type.

Here is a list of saturated fats, which are said to be the least heart healthy as they raise the blood cholesterol more than anything else in the diet:
lard, butter, cream, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, poultry fat, bacon fat and other meat fat.

Polyunsaturated oils are: safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil.

Monounsaturated fats include: canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil.

I like to reduce or eliminate my intake of nearly all vegetable oils, including corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, sesame oil, soybean oil, and related products such as margarine and vegetable shortening.

The two best oils I believe are high-quality virgin coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Although coconut oil is a saturated oil, I feel it’s good points of being derived from a healthful food, helping regulate blood sugar, causing the body to burn up more calories,  and its stability under high heat tend to outweigh its saturation concerns.

Avoid products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. This means that the oil has been heated to such a high temperature that the structure of the molecules have been changed to make it more stable at room temperature. This, however, makes it more harmful for the body.

Despite all the criticism of fat, it is an important nutrient and serves important functions in the body. It is a source of energy, helps protect important body organs and is necessary for growth and body maintenance.

Diets in our country are high in animal products, fat, salt and sugar and low in vegetables, fruits and fiber. Cutting down, or eliminating the big three: sugar, sodium and fats –  is a real challenge. It is worth the effort because our health depends on it.

To your good health and that of your family’s,

Lee Jackson
Health and Nutrition Advocate
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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