Tips on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy
You can call me Auntie Em and, although I don’t have young children, I hope you enjoy some of the stories I will be telling about my neighbor’s toddlers. But before we begin, why don’t I tell you a little bit about my background and how I got the nickname of Auntie Em.
I grew up in Kansas and always loved watching “The Wizard of OZ” even pretending sometimes that I was Dorothy. But one night when I was about 13 and home alone, a real tornado hit. That closed my Dorothy chapter forever. So nowadays I relate more to her older aunt, who didn’t get blown away. Much safer. Plus, when I moved to Los Angeles I traded in my old grubby Kansas ruby slippers for some new hip red dance shoes. So now that you know my story, I want to share some buzz about the little folks I know.
We all know that mothers want their youngsters to eat healthy and that means including vegetables and fruits in their meals. But with some kids I found out that it is not as easy as it may sound.
Alicia lives next door and her 3-year-old daughter Camille just started preschool where she has been exposed to snacks of cookies, chips or other sugary treats. As a result, now when she is at home, Camille tells her mother that she doesn’t want her vegetables, she wants snacks.
As all things go, my neighbor happens to be a somewhat stubborn young mother who doesn’t necessarily like the idea of her daughter taking control. Alicia wanted to limit snacks and refused to give her daughter any treats at home. “If you don’t eat the food I give you for dinner then you will have to go to bed,” she said expecting to have won the battle. I tried to keep from laughing when Alicia told me that her little girl looked up without fear and said proudly: “Well mommy just put me to bed!” Alicia did not win that battle.
End result? Alicia now tricks Camille by sneaking finely chopped or pureed fruits and veggies into the healthy food or recipes she likes to eat. For example, she puts finely chop carrots and mixes them into spaghetti sauce. Or, she adds some finely chopped fruits to gelatin salads. Another trick is to add some pureed sweet peas to then serve tiny vegetables, like baby carrots and baby corn with guacamole appetizer dips.
So what did I learn from this? Little kids are really smart and parents have to be even smarter. Here is how to do it:
- Finely mince vegetables and add them to hamburger patties or turkey burgers.
- Puree corn and stir that into corn muffin batter, or make apple cake or pumpkin cheesecake.
- Make casseroles with just pasta, cheese, and sauce, but then gradually add more finely chopped vegetables to the sauce. You can add some minced veggies into tuna or chicken salad as well.
Auntie Em knows these tips and ideas aren’t permanent solutions, but keep trying. If you know any other tricks, share them with the world! I’m sure my friend Alicia, and other parents, will appreciate it.
If you have a story of your own, send it my way so I can share. I love sharing!
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