Is your child a picky eater? Does your child love junk food in his tiffin? Everyday you have a tussle over leftovers in tiffin box? And every morning you face the dilemma, ‘What should I pack for snack today?
When it comes to food, it seems kids just want to have fun. We are, after all, talking about the “Happy Meal” generation. Kids are used to going to fast-food restaurants and finding their meal in a cute, colorful box with a toy inside. It’s easy to make junk food fun to eat. But is it possible to use the “fun factor” to inspire kids to eat healthy foods?
The way to get kids to eat more healthy & nutritious foods is to make the experience as much fun as eating less healthy snacks.
The study (which included responses from a national sample of six- to 12-year-olds and moms of 2- to 5-year-olds) found that most children agreed on a few characteristics that make a food fun to eat.
The “fun” attributes they named include:
Finger foods. No surprise here — kids like eating with their fingers.
Dipping and scooping. Children also think its fun to dip or scoop their food into another food.
Add-ins. Kids enjoy taking matters into their own hands by adding things to their food, such as sprinkles, sauces, or other toppings.
Fillings and frostings. Fillings or frostings tend to make foods appealing to children.
Silly shapes and cool colors. Kids like foods that come in interesting shapes and colors.
Portability. Children like to be able to take food products with them
Fun-Filled Healthy Foods
With a little imagination, all of these attributes can translate to healthful healthy food. So lets start with healthy, easy tp prepare lunches which kids would love.
- Do not make school lunch elaborate or have many courses in it. Make it simple, nutritious easy to eat. Breads & Sandwiches – any sandwich will work as long as it is healthy and not filled with junk. Veggie patties, raw vegetable sandwich, sandwiches with a light cooked veggie, or a cheese sandwich. And of course change your bread. Use whole wheat bread, whole grain bread.
- Carrots and celery sticks are portable and come in individual containers (seasonal and traditional).
- Whole grain breads and biscuits can be cut into silly shapes.
- Light dips, yogurt, and smoothies can change into cool colors with a flick of the finger (using natural food colors) or by blending in colorful fruits (like raspberries or mangos) or juices (such as pomegranate or grape juice.)
- Some ideas for fun add-ins and toppings: Chop tomatoes, broccoli, and green onions for topping baked potatoes; stir frozen fruit (sliced bananas, diced mango, cherries, blueberries, or raspberries) into hot cereal; and use veggie toppings to create a face on a pizza or morning bagel.
- To create fun shapes, try pouring pancake batter into a plastic bottle and squeezing out the letters in your child’s name.
Healthy & Fun Cooking guidelines
One important way to increase the fun factor of healthful foods is to involve kids in the cooking and serving process, experts say.
“Cooking is fun, and kids who like to cook generally like to eat,” advises Sam Mead, senior editor of Family Fun magazine.
1. Baking is a great way to get kids into the kitchen.
“Kids like the magic of seeing things change in the oven,” notes Ginny Callan, a former vegetarian chef and author of the Beyond the Moon Cookbook. My children, often stand before the glass window of the oven door, watching the muffins rise. It’s exciting.
2. Learning to make ethnic dishes
It’s not only fun, but helps teach children about our cultures. Compared to standard American fare, ethnic foods are often more healthful alternatives. Rujuta Dewekar says, ”our grandmothers introduced us to the rich tradition of eating because it is in season”. Traditional food is good for your child.
3. Cooking can help introduce children to new foods.
Kids aren’t always eager to try new foods, but believe me, a sure way to get children to try something new is to let them help make it. For example, kids might be more willing to taste soy milk if they’re pouring it into a smoothie they’re whipping up. And they might be less green-phobic if spinach is an ingredient in the dip they are blending.
Dont think that Roti, daal sabji, is the only solution to a healthy lunch. If you think that all the proteins in the daal is missed, beat up with a milkshake or with any of your child’s favorite flavor like strawberry or banana. Make kabobs or mix with your dough. With only few vegetables, fruits, healthy snack items, you could create wonders and make meal times a much awaited time of he day.
To create healthy eating habits for picky eaters, try making their meals fun. Get creative about how you present food, try using some color, and be sure to tell about the good benefits of good eating right from the start. Here are some healthy snacks or treats which are healthy fun foods for your child.
….are you still finding overwhelming to satisfy your picky eater, Iam here to help you with all your challenges, share with me in comments, I will be happy to answer all.