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Getting kids to eat healthy food can be a challenge but there are several ways you can make improvements that aren’t that hard. Picky eating can be improved.
Our goal at Little Sprouts is to grow as much of the food as the kids eat as we possibly can. Could we grow 10%? That would be amazing! Could we grow 50%? Even better! Healthy food for kids is so important!
Why do I care about growing all of the kid’s food? With the amount of GMO’s in our food supply and pesticides and herbicides that are showing up in the blood and tissue of humans, I feel that our food supply is getting increasingly unhealthy at an alarming rate.
Early childhood nutrition
Even if you don’t feed your kids processed foods, which most of us do, the fresh “healthy” foods we are buying at the grocery store are not so healthy anymore. If you don’t know a lot about chemicals in food or genetically modified food, I would take some time to do some research on it. You will be amazed.
The only way to make sure the food I feed my family and my daycare kids is truly healthy is to grow it ourselves. So we set out on a journey to learn to grow our own! You would be amazed at the transformation in our menu here at Little Sprouts.
We’ve gone from corn dogs, frozen fries, and chicken blobs made of mostly chemicals, to fresh produce and homemade bread made with freshly milled flour.
I make my own chicken strips now that just contain chicken, flour, and salt and pepper. In addition, I make my own oven fries. I feel great about it each and every time my kids eat. Is it a lot harder and more time-consuming? Goodness yes! Is it worth it? Oh my, double yes!
Those harmful chemical are destroying bodies at alarming rates with disease at an all-time high in the United States. And studies show that they are even more harmful to children as their bodies are still growing.
Healthy toddler meals
Are the meals I serve 100% organic, homemade, and chemical-free? No, but we are working toward that and every step I take in the right direction is a good step. We started over 10 years ago with baby steps and one small change at a time.
So you might be wondering what in the world do my Little Sprouts eat? You would be amazed at what they have learned to like that they didn’t before or had never even heard of. Shoot, I am eating things I had not heard of three years ago…and LIKING them!
Remember when changing your diet to healthier foods, kids have to be exposed to a food 11 times before it is no longer a new food. Is that a lot? YES! Do I have to throw away food sometimes because they don’t eat it? Yes. But I did before when I served convenience foods, so it’s not any different.
Food program meals for daycare
Daycares have USDA regulations for what must be served to the kids at each meal. There are parameters we must follow that are intended to supply the kids with a healthy diet, but they have a wide variety of very healthy and not so healthy choices that we can choose to feed them.
I try to give my kids the very best. And growing food with the kids and letting them help prepare it are two of the ways that exponentially increase the children’s chances of trying the foods that I offer that they might not be familiar with.
Veggies for kids
Another important thing about learning to eat healthy food is no matter what that food is, there is a way you can like it. You just have to find HOW you like to eat it. The same is true for kids.
Take eggplant for instance. I tried cooking it every way I could find and I just CANNOT like the taste of eggplant. I want to be healthy. Eggplant is healthy. So I grilled it, fried it, roasted it, baked it, steamed it, pureed it. But I just don’t like it. So I buy eggplant, grate it up and mix it in my spaghetti sauce or meatloaf. I am eating eggplant. But I can’t taste it.
Now consider broccoli. I do not like it boiled to death the way that I had it served to me as a child in the school cafeteria. But my mom boiled hers just a little bit, and it was yummy. When I grew up and started doing the cooking, I cooked it like mom did and it was good.
But I found out years later that using fresh broccoli instead of frozen is 10 times more delicious. And then I discovered it….roasted broccoli. Oh my, there is not much better in this world. I put a little olive oil on it, salt and pepper, crushed garlic, and a little grated parmesan cheese.
It is out of this world tasty. There’s not a single child who doesn’t gobble this up. I even have kids begging their parents to buy broccoli to eat at home. If you don’t give up on fruits and vegetables, you will learn to love many things and you will be able to teach your kids to love them too.
When we first tried to change our eating habits to eat healthy food, we only ate broccoli and corn. So getting 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day was really tough to do. But one at a time we added things to our diet that we now love to eat. Then we switched out our canned peaches for the world’s most amazing fresh peaches. We left the everyday apples, oranges, and bananas for less of those and a variety of wonderful fresh melons and other yummy fruits.
Our family learned to like Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, squashes and many many other healthy vegetables and our bodies are so much better for it. I think more clearly, have more energy, fewer mood swings and a myriad of other amazing health benefits. I eat an average of 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day in a wide variety of colors for different nutrients. Much of the produce I eat is raw. I enjoy it now that I’ve learned to prepare things the way I like them.
Remember if you badger your kids to eat, they won’t want what you’re feeding them no matter what. Nagging or begging kids to eat is not a healthy practice. Offer them a plate of food with a small amount of each thing on it. If they don’t eat it, don’t worry, they will eat when they are hungry. Model good eating habits and they will soon follow. Monkey see monkey do with kids is not just limited to bad things.
If you ignore what they are eating, they will choose what they need to be satisfied. Remember, a toddler portion is not what you are used to eating. They don’t need that much food to get full.
For more tips on how to get kids to eat healthy food, click here.
If you are trying to change and get your kids to eat healthy food, be patient with yourself and with them. It’s a process, it doesn’t happen overnight. But I can tell you even the pickiest kids (and adults, eh hmm) will come around and learn to like at least some things. It’s definitely worth doing for the health of those you love and you will feel AMAZING!