It’s easy just to grab something to eat when you’re in a hurry. This is true for you and is also true for your kids. How many times have you gone to the refrigerator and decided there is nothing to eat even though there are clearly are some food items visible?
When you or your kids feel like there’s nothing to eat, what you are really saying is there is nothing new and exciting to snack on. The key to encouraging your family to eat healthier foods may depend on variation and presentation. It may not be that kids shy away from vegetables, for example, but that vegetables tend to be served and in ordinary ways.
A Feast for the Eyes
Many parents assume that when food is for kids, presentation is not so important. Focusing on how food is presented is essential to a caterer or to a host, but not when you are giving your kids something to eat after school. On the contrary, when kids come through the door and put their backpack on a chair, they are likely to be in the mood to see something new and surprising in the kitchen. Arrange some fun treats on a colorful plate, or cut up vegetables in unusual designs. You can fashion a praying mantis out of a celery stick with raisins as eyes, a large caterpillar with a skewer and banana chunks or make little lions heads from carrot slices.
Younger kids love playing with the food. You may caution your children not to be distracted during meal times and focus on eating rather than creating, but preparing food is a great time to stimulate creativity. Make open face sandwiches that live up to their name with a slice of cheese and some vegetables to form a small face. Have your kid’s stuff peppers and other vegetables prior to placing them into the oven or enjoy cold stuffed peppers with tuna salad or a combination of quinoa and nuts.
Kids tend to eat food that they help make because it gives them a sense of accomplishment, and you may find that a dose of creativity is just the right spice stimulate the child’s appetite. It is a good idea to involve your child not only in your preparations but in planning meals and snacks ahead of time.
Fun, Healthy Products in the Supermarket
You may dread taking your kid to the supermarket because that is the place where they may tend to get an attack of the “gimmes” but if they ask you to purchase healthy items, it is worth the trip. Kids love Hampton Creek Just Cookies and Just Brownies products that contain plant-based ingredients without eggs and milk. Hampton Creek also has a line egg-free mayo called Just Mayo in a variety of flavors. If you are concerned about using real mayonnaise for your kids’ lunches, Just Mayo sandwiches contain no eggs and do not spoil as quickly.
Taking your kids shopping can prevent the daily disappointment at the fridge or the cabinet when the younger members of your family complain that there is nothing to eat. Teaching your child about the process of planning meals and snacks as well as shopping and buying products involves them in the process and helps them feel responsible. This may motivate your child to feel more certain of what they want to eat because they are involved in stocking the kitchen with new items.
One way to make healthy snacks that satisfy kids is to them after snacks the kids enjoy eating out of the house. If your kids like salty savory snacks, have them help you make homemade chips or crackers or roast nuts with sea salt. Having fruit salad in the fridge can quickly calm sweet tooth, and healthy baked goods can help ease temptation while providing a familiar treat. When you know the kind treats your children tend to find out of the house, it’s clear that they are not so different from what can be offered at home, except if they are convenient, strongly flavored are different from what they usually eat. With some thought, planning and consulting with your children, you can come up with healthy, mouthwatering natural flavors that will give them something wholesome to snack on between meals. Providing lock bags or containers will also help them take their snacks on the go.