One of the biggest concerns for parents is ensuring that your children eat healthily.There have never been more snack foods and sweets available than there are today, so steering your kids towards a healthy diet can be a real challenge.
One of the best ways to ensure that your offspring are eating the food you want them too is to make your option too delicious to resist. Cooking food which is both healthy and delicious doesn’t have to be a struggle, this post has some top tips for making nutritious food your family will love.
Make Food Fun
As a child almost everybody will have experienced the familiar disappointment of asking for a biscuit or chocolate bar and being told to “eat a piece of fruit instead.”
The difficulty is that with small children find it hard to focus on the health implications of food and are easily distracted by other factors. To overcome this you need to make carrots and apples more attractive than toffees and crisps.
One way of achieving this is to make healthy snacks fun; have a ‘who can crunch their carrot the loudest’ competition, or challenge your kids to peel an orange in one go. This will be one time that you’ll be glad they’re playing with their food.
While you’re playing these games you can slowly introduce healthy eating into their lives. Challenge them to eat 5 pieces of fruit or veg a day and then slowly educate them on the benefits of each piece of fruit they’ve eaten. Want them to eat carrots? Explain to them how they help to see in the dark.
Challenge Your Own Tastes
Have you ever had a dish which you remember being incredibly spicy, yet when it came to eating it again you didn’t find it half as bad? As we grow and try new flavours and spices our taste buds actually become lazier and less sensitive.
When cooking remember that children are still discovering food and flavours, so less is more. By cutting back on the level of salt you would usually add to a dish you can greatly improve its healthiness while retaining a delicious flavour for your kids.
You can also introduce your child to a variety of textures and flavours that they won’t taste elsewhere – often their diets are limited at school or nursery so home is the best place to slowly introduce new foods. If they’ve never had asparagus before they’re not likely to instantly like it! Remember that repetition is key to getting your children used to a food and then perhaps liking it.
By planning your meals for the week you can ensure you get good quality fresh ingredients for them and set aside time to prepare and cook them. You can find plenty of great healthy family recipes online for every level of cooking ability; so pick the ones for you and your family and make up your shopping list accordingly.
If you struggle with planning your weekly recipes, consider using a family meal planner to help guide you through the week and sort out your grocery list. Some sites even offer complete guides for you to follow. It is then simply a case of removing the meals your family won’t eat and replacing them with another simple dish.
Save time on your healthy evening meals by preparing some things in advance. For instance you could chop or slice a lot of the vegetables the night before or even cook the pasta/rice so you’re ready to simply reheat parts of the meal. Just because a meal is healthy does not mean it can’t be convenient.
Learn to cook healthily for your family and your family will in turn learn to enjoy and cook healthy food for themselves.