Making Sure Your Child Eats a Broad Range of Healthy Foods

Following up on my earlier post about teaching children where food comes from, I thought I’d put up a quick post on how to get your kids to eat healthy.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who also has children at home, in fact they have 3 ranging from a few months to about 5 years old. It seems that we’ve been very lucky with our toddler given his willingness to eat pretty much everything we put in front of him regardless how bland, spicy, wet, dry, brown or green the meal might be. My friend was telling me that not only are his kids picky, but they have structured their meals around certain foods that the children are willing to eat and its come to the point that there is concern that nutritional requirements may not be being met.

Now, I’m not going to kid myself. I expect that our situation is due perhaps in part to the fact that we’ve exposed our toddler to a wide variety of foods and food types since he was big enough to eat solid foods, but that its likley more a case of good luck than anything else. It would not surprise me one bit if in the near future he just decided that he was no longer open to trying anything but a handful of food items, so I figured I’d better get prepared.

I’ve managed to source some interesting options that ‘hide’ healthy foods in more tasty options. For example, the Whole Foods near us sells chicken sausage that includes a great deal of kale. Provided your child doesn’t recoil at the idea of eating a green sausage this might be a good option. Another approach we’ve used is to put vegetable-based juice in the breakfast shakes we all drink in the morning. This is not V-8, but rather those green / spirulina drinks you see these days, like:

Happy Planet Extreme Green (their site)
Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness (their site)
Arthur’s Green Energy (their site)
Odwalla Superfood (their site)

A couple of shakes we alternate between for breakfast include (we make enough for three of us):

Peanut Butter & Banana:
2 bananas
Huge scoop (~5 tablespoons) of unsalted peanut butter (no additional ingredients)
~ 250-300mL of vanilla yogurt (we avoid low fat)
~ 1 cup of dry quick oats
A couple cups of 2% milk
Water as needed.
Pulse blend until desired consistency is reached & oats are broken up.

Mango & Banana:
2 bananas
Flesh of one average sized mango (2 if you use the smaller Philippine mangos).
~ 250-300mL of vanilla yogurt (we avoid low fat)
~ 1 cup of dry quick oats
A couple cups of 2% milk
Water as needed.
Pulse blend until desired consistency is reached & oats are broken up.

Banana & Greens:
2 bananas
~ 1 cup of Green drink of your choice (see above)
~ 250-300mL of vanilla yogurt (we avoid low fat)
~ 1 cup of dry quick oats
A couple cups of 2% milk
Pulse blend until desired consistency is reached & oats are broken up.

I’ve polled a few folks including the friend mentioned above and they’ve provided a couple of options for making food that kids will eat (note that I said ‘make’ as I like the idea of knowing exactly where the ingredients are coming from and what is going into the food we feed our kids). One book we’re been recommended more than once is Deceptively Deliciouswhich is apparently authored by Jerry Seinfeld’s wife. My copy hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ll plan to update this post once we’ve tried some of their recipes.

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

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