Working as a nanny I have found that the most important thing to getting kids to eat healthy food is to start when they are young, and as they get older, making healthy food fun really helps them to stay on the right track. As parents and caregivers to the children in our lives, we are able to help pave a path that they can take and benefit from for the rest of their lives.
When working with infants I like to begin introducing solids with savory soft foods first like squashes and avocados and waiting before introducing sweeter foods like bananas and apples. Once they’ve acquired a taste and liking for sweet foods, it’s likely going to be harder to get them to eat their vegetables as well.
I’ve worked with a lot of infants and really young children over the years, and more recently have been working with older children as well, around the ages of 3-6. I am encouraged seeing how much kids really enjoy healthy food when they have the taste for it, when they get to participate in the preparation or be engaged with the food in some way while eating it and when it’s just fun. Kids always want to have fun, and this carries over into food. One way to make food fun is with the presentation and here are just a few protein and nutrient rich food ideas that I’ve used and had success with over the years. I will continue to add more with time. I do love these tasty treats and eat them regularly myself.
Almond butter is great of course because it is rich in protein. Apples, bananas and celery make for a great base, and cinnamon and honey are full of immune strengthening and anti-inflammatory properties.
I set these up usually to allow the kids to have as much participation as possible, unless under a time constraint of course. They love topping the celery with either raisins or Goji berries. Apples and bananas with either cinnamon and/or honey, and on special occasions I even pull out the sprinkles. If there is something here you’ve tried before or plan to make, I will love to hear what other wonderful ideas you come up with!
Note: A fun trick to making something like a plain apple or banana fun to eat is to slice a few pieces and then put them back together. Sell it to the kids as ‘Puzzle’ fruit!
Bon Appetit and cheers to good health!