Posts tagged tips

5 Ways to get your kids to go green

Beautiful broccoliMy tween went on a hunt today to find something green to wear tomorrow so that she won’t get pinched on St. Patrick’s Day. Her quest got me thinking that this holiday might just be the perfect excuse inspiration to encourage kids not just to wear green, but to eat more green.

 

Here are a few ideas that seem to be working around my house:

 

Keep it smooth

My teen and youngest are now hooked on my magic smoothies, which include spinach and go from green to red once you add in berries.

Add it in!

Whenever I make pasta I try to throw in some spinach or other greens too. I figure the more my kids see it on their plate, the more likely they are to eat it.

 

Make it easyTween eating lime

I make little baggies of cut up veggies and put them in the fridge so my kids can grab them as a quick snack.

 

Use the power of TV

While there are plenty of TV shows and ads that might have your child reaching for junk food–there might just be a few that could encourage them eat their veggies. For example, my youngest is a huge fan of the BBC Merlin series. She’s entranced with all things English. So when I mentioned that there were “English” cucumbers she decided they’re now her favorite.

 

Be an example

If you like greens, chances are your kids will too.

 

 

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Tips for tackling summer snack attacks

Anyone else suffer from the summer snack attacks? You know where potato chips, boxed mac ‘n cheese, and other usual no-nos or occasional treats become regulars in your kitchen cabinets? During the school year I’m pretty good at planning out dinners beforehand and having relatively healthy snacks on hand for my kids after school. While I thought summertime would make it even easier for my kids to eat good-for-them foods, what with berries, peaches, melons and all sorts of goodies available, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

I’ve discovered a few tips for the summer snack attacks that we’re trying around our house, maybe they might work for you too.

Keep it whole. It takes minutes (seconds, really) to down a cup of applesauce. But eating an entire apple? That involves more time and attention. I’ve found my kids feel fuller and are more satisfied when they eat whole fruits and veggies instead of juices or sauces.
Keep it cold. On a hot summer day my kids (okay, so do I) crave ice cream and other icy sweets to cool off. My teen started a trend that’s become a tradition around our house–eating berries right out of the freezer. While you can pick and freeze your own, I also like Costco’s mixed bag of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Keep it fun. So your kids like some unconventional snacks, hey as long as they’re good-for-them, I say go for it. My middle child loves to eat whole limes–she’ll take her time sucking out the juice then eating the inside. She’ll happily spend her entire 10 minute swim break at the pool taking apart her lime, piece by piece. I can’t think of a better snack, although I’ve seen a few people give her a doubletake as they pass by. My youngest likes banana chips dipped in peanut butter.

Keep it handy. Stash the once-in-awhile snacks where your kiddos won’t seem them all the time and make sure healthier snacks are always within reach. I like to keep bowls of fruit in the middle of my kitchen table so it’s easy for my kids to grab a healthy treat. In the fridge I put mini carrots, cut up cantaloupe and baby cucumbers in various clear containers so my kids know right where to find them.

Your turn–what do you do to help your kids eat healthy snacks in the summertime?

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Getting kids to try new ingredients–Welcome to Squid week!

Sometimes readers get the wrong idea about my blog–nope, I’m not serving my kids squid every night (just the occasional fried calamari or grilled). Instead I’m all about raising adventurous eaters.

Children tend to be miniature explorers by design. I’m just trying to tap into that through their stomachs. As a parent, it’s a way for us to share something together. I may get a bored playing Littlest PetShop for hours on end with my 7 year-old, but making calzones together, that’s something we both enjoy.

During the week, I’ll be sharing some recipes and guest posts about my blog’s namesake, squid. Now you don’t have to do these recipes with squid–chicken, pork or even tofu can be stand-ins–but I hope you’ll follow along to learn something more about what might be a new-to-you ingredient, cooking technique, or even an inspiration to try yet again for your kids to sample a food they’ve declared “yucky” in the past (I’m not talking squid here, spinach used to fall into that category around here).

So how do you jumpstart your child’s tastebuds? I have a few unconventional ideas.

Shop at a new grocery store. Okay, this might not be that unusual, but I’ve found that our favorite grocery stores often aren’t always around the corner. Google local seafood, vegetable, Asian, and/or Mexican markets to find new places to shop. Take the kids. We bought our squid by the pound at an Asian market in what used to be a mall. The person in front of us in line bought pounds of squid and tilapia and other seafood so my kids saw we weren’t the only ones!
Let them cook. That’s how my daughter came up with banana hot dogs. Give them a variety of ingredients, see what they come up with. If you’re willing to try their creations, they’ll be more willing to try yours. (And yes, this can be very scary.)

Try out a new restaurant. Chains don’t count.

Mix new with the old. When I’m trying to entice my kids to sample a new curry recipe, I pair it with plain rice, naan, or another food I know they’ll like and it. I serve it in small ramekins too to avoid that whole it-touched-my-rice/noodles/green beans issue. A new food isn’t nearly as intimidating if it’s served in small portions.
Refuse to share. Then share. I can’t tell you how many times, “Oh, you won’t like this” led to my kids trying, then asking for something I was sure they wouldn’t eat.

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