Wouldn’t it be great if kids would grow up loving fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and everything else that is healthy and nutritious for them? When parents prepare healthy meals for their children, they are helping to develop exactly the right habits that will allow them to grow up not only by eating, but enjoying all types of healthy and nutritious foods. So let’s take a look at what it takes to prepare a healthy meal for kids.
For a child to enjoy healthy food, the food must be appealing to children. Why do you think there are dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets? Are the breakfast cereals brightly colored in the shape of all kinds of cartoon characters? Do children’s fast food meals come with toys? The food industry knows that it all appeals to a child’s imagination.
Healthy meals for children will have all of the following characteristics:
Have fun and imaginative names that your child can relate to
Have bright colors and come in interesting shapes and / or patterns
Have familiar textures, crunchy vegetables, crunchy snacks, juicy fruits, etc.
Come in children’s portions
By introducing kids to healthy and nutritious foods in a fun and imaginative way, they are already enjoying it and they will want to try it. Nothing is more difficult than to feed a child their Brussels sprouts “because I told you they are good for you”. Plus, by appealing to your child’s imagination, you can begin to involve them in some of the planning and preparation.
Kids love to help mom and dad get things done no matter what, so this is a great opportunity to get them involved and start developing healthy eating habits. To engage your child and keep their interest, all recipes should:
Use basic ingredients found in most pantries
Be easy to prepare by allowing the child to help
Prepare quickly (~ 15 minutes)
While most children have a favorite food that they want to eat at every meal every day, variety is also important because it allows you to fit a wider range of healthy foods into their diet. In addition, not all meals will be a well-balanced dinner. Healthy eating habits means choosing healthy, nutritious options for all meals, including:
Packed lunches for school
The goal is for your children to enjoy healthy foods and eat well-balanced, nutritious meals before they even realize it’s good for them, and by that time, they’ll love the foods so much that they don’t. ‘will not care. So instead of engaging in a battle of wills over who won’t leave the table until they’ve finished their broccoli, cook healthy meals for the kids that are so much fun they’ll want more.