As a parent getting the good stuff into your kids sometimes seems like an uphill battle. Now don’t get me wrong, my lot reject the freshest of fruit n vege at the best of times, and it’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Which is why I thought I’d share with you some of my tips, tricks and little ideas to get my three kids gobbling up the good stuff.
When it comes to getting them excited about food and eating more greens I’ve got a few simple things that work a real treat.
1. Get the kids involved the kitchen – It’s not rocket science but if you get them in the kitchen and let them have a go it makes a real difference. Every Sunday night we have family dinner where one of the kids and I cook together. Who ever is cooking gets to decide what we’re having, with a guided hand from me of course. Then we shop for it, prepare it and serve it up. My kids Eloise (8), Ludmila (6) & Dan (4) have embraced this with open arms. Get them chopping, stirring, pouring stuff into pots, kneading bread, the more they do the more they take ownership and understand that food doesn’t just fall out of the sky. The kids have even taken to writing little menus, setting the table, or in Dan’s case we even made his own little burger menu cards to tick which ingredients you’d like. It’s such a blast that they now even try and jump the queue just so they can have another go.
2. Make it fun – Make meal times fun by switching it up. The best thing I’ve ever bought is a simple crinkle cutter knife which makes any fruit or vege exciting. I use it to make apple & cucumber chips, crinkly carrot sticks, its something so simple but it changes their perspective on things making it more fun. It sounds bonkers but trust me, this little knife is a game changer. Go get yourself one.
3. Play hide and seek – now by this I mean sneak veggies into the meals where they can’t see them. I make this wicked rainbow vege sauce that is absolutely delicious and can be used in so many different ways. I call it rainbow because of all the different coloured vege I use in it. Carrots, onions, peppers, pumpkin, tomatoes, leeks, celery. And best of all you can use the sauce on your pizza bases, with pasta, thin it out with stock to make a vege soup, add meatballs to it for spaghetti and meatballs. The kids gobble it up and don’t even know the goodness that lies beneath.
4. Start a herb and vege patch – I do this all the time with my kids and they love it. Give them the power of choice and get them to plant what they love and want to eat. That way you’re already half way there. They plant them, water them, pick them and eat them. A good tip is to try and pick fast growing vege that they can see growing before their eyes, this will keep them engaged and coming back to the patch. Also I like to plant a few small flowers around to, adds some colour, brings in the buzzy bees and that’s all good.
Kids just want to have fun, so if you keep that at the forefront of you mind, start them young, be consistent and keep it simple. Do little fun things each day, night after night and one day they’ll surprise you. And remember you were a kid once to and didn’t eat all your greens all the time, and you’re still alive.