One thing we haven´t covered much in this blog is food. Baking was previously mentioned in the blog ´Tips and Activities to help your child and babysitter bond´ but general nutrition and meals have not been discussed. This is a very important topic especially for younger children because you want to make sure they are getting the food they need to grow and be healthy. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as, folate, vitamin C and potassium. Regularly eating a variety of fruit and veg can help children’s long-term health.
So here we are going to talk about some tips to help children get their 5 a day.
Tip 1. Making soup or a tomato sauce from blended up vegetables is a great way to get children to eat a lot of vegetables without them knowing. Often children just look at their greens and decide they don´t want to have them. So if they can´t see them and just think it´s a creamy pasta sauce then they will be more happy to eat their meal without thinking those peaky green are in there, when in fact all they are still getting all the nutrients they need.
Tip 2. This might not work with every child but it has worked in the past for some. This is not a permanent fix but offers a bit of help in a time of need. Putting the roasted vegetable in a sweet bag can encourage children to eat them. When they are younger and are demanding sweets this can act and a good way to have a healthier option. Clearly, not all children will be this gullible but it´s worth a shot right.
Tip 3. Make eating vegetables fun. This could be done by cutting the vegetables in fun or different shapes. Making a nice pattern with the food or even arranging it in the shape of a face makes children more excited to eat the food. This makes eating more visually stimulating and exciting.
Tip 4. You need to offer new foods with one’s children are familiar with. It is important not to overwhelm a child when offering new food. Give them something they like and enjoy to accompany the new vegetables. Also, make sure you try different ways of cooking the vegetable for example grill the broccoli instead of boiling it. This gives a different texture and flavour that they might prefer.
Tip 5. Be a good role model. This comes into play whenever you are trying to encourage or teach children something. Showing them that you eat the food and enjoy different vegetables is very important because if they look up to you then they will follow in your footsteps.
Tip 6. Stay persistent. It is said that you need to try something 6 times before you know if you really don´t like something. So just because they rejected something once doesn´t mean they won´t ever like it. Also, as they grow older taste buds change so something they didn´t like 6 months ago they might enjoy now. Then sometimes children are just stubborn and don´t want to try the food so be persistent because it will help.
Tip 7. Let the children help prepare the food. One thing to mention is that with younger children you need to make sure you instil independence in them. You want children to be adventurous and be happy with trying some things alone. So it is great to get them involved in the process of cooking. This is also good for encouraging them to try new foods. If they have been involved in the process of making the food then they are more likely to try it since they have put in the hard work.
Now the tips are out the way we are going to talk about our top two recipes. One sweet the other savoury.
Firstly one good recipe incorporates tip number 3. Be presenting the food in a new and different fun way it can encourage children to eat more vegetables. A good way to do this by cooking healthy muffins that include vegetables. One great recipe is the courgette picnic muffins. Courgette can be a difficult vegetable to get children to like because as soon as they see something green they decide they don´t like it so this recipe is great for mixing things up a bit. Then the best part is how easy this recipe is.
You will need:
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup cooked rice
• ½ an onion
• 2 courgettes grated
• 70 g grated cheese
• Optional chopped bacon (otherwise add more salt and pepper if not including)
Once you have the ingredients you simply whisk the eggs then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Season and then add to a muffin tin. Finally, place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celcius for 20 minutes.
The great thing about this recipe is that the children can get involved in the making of the muffins. Mixing the ingredients together is very easy and can be done with an age. Now moving onto something a little sweeter. It usually isn´t an issue trying to get children to eat the puddings but what if you want it to be a healthier pudding not filled with sugar than will make them hyper for the next two hours. Well, this mousse is an easy recipe that will tick all the boxes.
You only need 4 ingredients:
• 1 ripe banana
• 4 large dates
• 1 ripe Avocado
• 3tsp cacao powder
Then all you need to do it blend everything in a food processor. Again it is very easy for the children to get involved and it feeds all the sweet tooths out their while not being filled with artificial sugars. To finish it off you can always add some berries to the top to add in some extra fruit.
I hope you found this post interesting and that it has inspired you to get out in the kitchen. If you would like more food-related posts please let us know.