At times it can seem like kids are programmed to automatically hate fruits and veggies, and love things like candy and cookies. But there’s ways for you to change that. Here’s 10 easy tips for kid friendly recipes with fruits and vegetables. And trust me, they actually work. Take it from the mommy of a toddler that usually craves cookies and candy. I’ve been able to follow the tips below to get him to demand the good stuff instead!
- Get rid of the junk – Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually harder for moms to do. It’s easy for us to buy things like cookies and potato chips if that’s what we crave. If you stop buying junk food and start buying things like craisins, apples, and mini carrots, your kids will have no choice but to eat them. And for moms-to-be, if you stop having the junk food around now, your kids won’t be introduced to it, therefore won’t crave it. But if you really have a sweet tooth like me, just hide your stash away from tiny prying hands!
- Add cheese – This used to be a technique of mine before I started to suspect that my toddler was lactose intolerant. I would top broccoli with lots of Parmesan cheese and mix it. He would see me mix it, and would end up eating pieces of the broccoli to get to the cheese.
- Veggies First – Don’t present them a plate with the chicken fingers and side vegetables next to them. Serve them a small plate of veggies first, that way they think that’s their meal, and they’ll eat it rather than going for the chicken first and then demanding more chicken rather than eating their vegetables.
- Peanut Butter and Caramel Galore –Serve things like celery, carrots, apples with a side of natural peanut butter or hydrogenated-free caramel. Show them how to dip the vegetables and then bit off the dipped part. They’ll love it.
- Special Sauce – Make some steamed vegetables, and then pure’ them into a food processor. Add your favorite spaghetti sauce, and mix that all together. Use that as your spaghetti sauce, and your kids will never know the difference!
- Apple Crisp – My husband sneaks apples into my toddler by baking them into an apple crisp. The Food Network’s web site is full of great recipes.
- Smoothies – My toddler and now even my baby girl love love love smoothies. I have a couple great recipes in one of my blog entries. And the great thing is, you’ll love them too!
- Local Farmer’s Market – My local farmer’s market has fruit and veggie picking events from their own fields. Call your local market to see if they’ll let you do that. That way, your child makes an activity out of it. They’ll pick their own fruit and be proud of it, so it’ll be fun for them to eat it, too.
- For the Love of Ice Cream – Your kids love ice cream, but you don’t like the fat. A healthier alternative to it is making gelato. Here’s some great recipes. And it is absolutely delicious.
- Layer it up – My toddler loves yogurt. I let him watch while I layer strawberries and berries with his favorite yogurt. I put the fruit on top, so he has to dig through it to get to the yogurt. Using a clear glass helps too, because your child can see through it and it’s kind of a cool visual for them to see what their spoon is doing as they mix things up.
- Sneak veggies into a frittata – Beat some eggs in a bowl – about two eggs per person. Then, in an oven-safe non-stick pan, fry up some veggies – broccoli, onions, mushrooms, spinach, etc. Once the veggies are done, pour the eggs onto the frying pan on top of the veggies. Put it in the oven at 350 for about 10 mins. Once it’s done and out of the over, sprinkle on some cheddar cheese. Voila, you have a delicious frittata, and if your kids like eggs and cheese, they’ll never notice the difference!
I’ve used all these tips, and they have worked successfully to make fruits and veggies kid friendly, but always remember the number one tip. Get that junk out of your house, and stock your pantry with fruits and veggies! But to stay sane, feel free to have a secret box of cookies stashed in your closet! ; – )