Make Healthy Food Fun for Picky Eaters
Some kids are just born picky eaters, right? I didn’t think so as my kids were perfect. ;-) One day my partner came home and the kids said. “Mom gave us junk food today!” As he looked at me behind one raised brow, they continued..”We had beets, celery with peanut butter, and strawberries!” I proceeded to do a silent cheer, and victory dance behind their backs. The truth is, as all parents know. It is not always a victory dance when it comes to making sure our kids have a healthy, and most important, balanced diet! There are many nights of complaining and uneaten food at the dinner table. What was their favorite food yesterday, they no longer enjoy today! Then there are the things we don’t have control over, like the milk and candy they get while they are at school, or the sharing of snacks on the bus on the way home. I can tell that when they get home from school they are depleted nutritionally as they prefer to talk during their lunch rather than eat everything I pack for them, and are usually on a limited schedule for lunch break.
These situations, among the picky-ness of children, are some obstacles that we don’t have control over. So what do we have control over?
As I began examining my children’s daily diets, I realized that the thing they are missing most in their day is fruit! Sure they have fruit snacks and juice from concentrate for breakfast (pure sugar) and once a month we make them banana smoothies, but where is the 2 servings of fruit they should be getting PER DAY!
Children should have a minimum of 2 servings of fruit per day and 3 servings of veggies. Although I usually make sure they get their veggies, the one thing I have had a tendency to overlook is their fruit.
My kids love juicing but this is messy and I don’t always have time to do it with them, and when they are on their way home from school I know they need something immediately!
The juice flights at Jai Juice are perfect at just $6 for four 2 oz juice samples that your kids can mix and match. It is the perfect after school snack or weekend family treat to entertain them as they get to pick and enjoy different tastes, which is a very important part of dealing with picky eaters!
One of Jai Juice’s missions is to make eating healthy fun and exciting, and dealing with picky eaters is no different.
We usually make healthy food “the have to” on the plate, and the fun events circle around trips to Zestos. Hey, I love ice cream too, but what is this teaching them about healthy eating. Healthy eating can be fun too!
How do we deal with picky eaters?
• Get them involved.
• Have them join you in the kitchen.
• Let them be part of the decision of what they want to order at a place with healthy options. (I let mine order off the adult menu because most kids menus are crap!)
Kids love color, which is why they thought the beets, celery and strawberries were junk food. They had many different tastes and beautiful colors, like jai juices laid out on the wood plank in the juice flight. And better yet they are kid size. At $6 per flight, I even give them permission to not like one, because we are having fun together and trying new things, and that is worth getting them excited about health. Plus I get their leftovers!
Get your picky eaters interested in health by giving them freedom to choose different things, to not like some things, (I have a rule that they have to try it a couple bites before they earn the right to say, “I don’t like it”) and getting involved in their choices and activities in the kitchen! Empower them! Where is the power in forcing our kids to finish their brussell sprouts but then taking them out for popcorn and ice cream when everyone is relaxed and having fun?!
Variety is the spice of life, and children recognize this. What makes you happy is what is going to make them happy. Small portions, different tastes and lots of color, are a great formula to begin changing their minds about healthy eating, and fun family times, and their tastes are sure to follow!
Kid Friendly Cold Pressed Juices to get their servings of fruits and vegetables available at Jai Juice:
Purify (in small amounts-like in the juice flight)
By Dani McGuire(Vani), Yoga Therapist, Ayurveda Health Educator