Healthy meal ideas are as easy as creating healthy habits and
teaching kids how to make healthy choices. Easier said than done?
We're here to help you learn more about healthy eating.
Planned Kids Cooking Curriculum
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How to Start Using Healthy Meal Ideas
I remember hearing a preschooler state he hated vegetables and would
never eat them and at the same time ask for more broccoli. He didnt
know what a vegetable was but he was sure they were yucky, even
though his favorite food was broccoli.
Children learn from what they see and hear from those around them.
If they hear others stating they dislike healthy foods or that
vegetables are icky they will assume this is true. It is important
to teach your children from the time they are quite young about a
variety of fruits and vegetables. We require more nutrients than we
can get from packaged processed foods that have had the nutrition
removed during processing.
Limiting choices that are available but not forbidding any foods is
the best way to insure your child will make healthy food choices.
Your child is going to want to make choices so instead of trying to
make candy compete with broccoli you need to have limited choices
and have your child choose from them. For example serve 2 or 3
vegetables with dinner instead of only one. It allows kids to make
their own choice. Every parent knows kids like to make their own
choices! Every parent has the same question, how can you incorporate
healthy meal ideas into your families diet?
We have some healthy meal ideas for getting your kids to eat healthy
and ways to provide more nutrition.
Ideas to Add to your Menu Plans
Add vegetables wherever possible. For example, shredded
zucchini or carrots can go in breads, muffins, scrambled eggs,
spaghetti sauce, cupcakes! Try adding shredded vegetables to
soups if your kids don't like the chunky version. Or you can
puree them in a blender.
Add wheat flour instead of white flour when baking
even a little wheat flour mixed with white flour is beneficial.
Add wheat germ or flax seeds in granola,
yogurt or baking for a little extra nutrition.
Snack on vegetables cut in sticks, nuts, fruit slices or
cheese. Have these available for easy snacking. Don't give
into the impulse to buy easy bagged snacks like chips. If your
kids don't have it available to snack on they'll find something
else quick and easy. If you don't have the time to slice and
dice vegetables or fruit buy the no prep work version. From the
salad bar or fruit already in cubes or slices are easy for kids
to grab and go.
Grow a garden, small or large, if kids are involved in
the growing process they will enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Not to mention they will love to pretend to be a bunny eating a
fresh picked carrot.
Take a field trip to an apple orchard, pumpkin patch or
visit a farmer's market. Help inspire your children's interest
in fruits and vegetables.
Use our food
pages for an easy reference while you are cooking
with your kids. Offer a variety of not only foods, but also
offer a variety of food groups
and a variety of textures, flavors, colors. The wider
the variety of foods that you give your child to choose from the
more vitamin content you will be giving your child.
When preparing dinner set out carrot sticks, apple slices
or another fruit or vegetable. Kids will be more likely to
snack on these while they are hungry for dinner.
Be creative when you serve fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes seeing vegetables in a different way can be more
appealing to kids. For example, if your kids don't like cooked
broccoli try serving it chopped in a casserole or uncooked. Find creative ways to add
foods to your childs diet especially if your child has been
limiting foods from one food group. Children who are not fond of
eating their vegetables will quite often eat raw vegetables
dipped in dressing or sprinkled with cheese.
lessons with your child. Oftentimes doing something
as simple as allowing kids to cook with you will help to improve
their healthy eating habits. When they have a hands on
experience creating, mixing and preparing food they often enjoy
eating it more. If your kids are old enough teach them to make
something they can prepare for themselves when they are hungry.
(fruit salad, scrambled egg, boiled egg, grilled cheese
Cut out sugary cereals. Replace these with wholegrain
cereal, hot cereal or cooked breakfasts. If mornings are too
busy try preparing things the night before. Stir together
pancake batter or scrambled eggs and store in the fridge. Wake
up the next morning and just cook it! If your kids really want
their sugary cereals serve them mixed with wholegrain cereals.
Reserve dessert for once a week. It will be an
anticipated event instead of an everyday occurrence. Instead of
having a sugary dessert after each meal, make
count. For dessert you can have things such as fresh
fruit and yogurt, a fruit smoothie or fresh fruit topped with a
small amount of whipped cream. Dont eat sugary desserts
everyday, but save them for special occasions or one day a week.
Start by limiting the amount
of unhealthy or junk foods that you allow to enter your
house. If your kids do not have the constant exposure to foods
with little to no dietary value then they wont crave them. It
may take you a month, or perhaps a year, but if you and your
kids continue to follow the healthy eating tips you will find
your children prefer to eat healthy foods over junk foods.
When serving your kids from the time they are toddlers you
should always serve a little
bit of everything from the basic food groups. Most
toddlers, when given balanced meals, will pick and choose each
day but by the end of the week will have eaten a wide variety of
foods with something from each category in the food pyramid.
Have a list of snacks
that kids can have after school. Post this on the fridge or
somewhere for the whole family to see.
Make healthy substitutions.
Replace fruit for sugary products such as adding fresh or
frozen, thawed berries to your pancakes instead of syrup.
Cut out sugar drinks and soda
and replace them with water or milk. Even juice should be
limited to 100% juice and no more than 8 oz. a day.
Eat together as a family.
This does wonders for kids healthy eating habits and their self
Lead by example. If
you want to serve kids healthy meals, practice healthy eating in
front of your children. It can help to instill values when it
comes to foods and food choices. Your children learn from what
you do in front of them. If you are eating your vegetables your
child will most likely learn to eat vegetables.
There are many ways of increasing the nutrition in your kids
meals. Some quick healthy meal ideas for kids is to cut back on
pre-packaged foods as much as possible, eating as many fresh foods
and whole grains as possible and making snacks count nutrition
wise. All of these healthy eating tips for kids are important for
your childrens health as well as your own health.
Start new healthy meal ideas and habits
If your family is having difficulty making healthy food choices
then it is important to keep in mind that it takes approximately
three weeks to make a new habit. Start looking at ways that
you can break these habits today and implement them as soon as
Once your family is in the habit of making good food choices and
using healthy meal ideas you will find that instead of worrying
about their food choices you will know that they are making
healthy choices at home as well as when they are away. So go ahead
and make your healthy meal plans and see how great your family
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