Sure, you could hide the good stuff in a casserole or dessert. But here’s a thought: Instead of “pulling a fast one” on your kids, how about preparing and serving these healthy gems in a tempting way, so they’ll learn to choose these foods for themselves? Try these ideas for getting your kids to love their fruits and veggies, without having to sneak the healthy stuff in. (And don’t forget: an eight-ounce bottle of vitamin C-filled juice drinks like Mott’s Wild Grape Surge and Strawberry Boom provides serving of fruit to any meal*.)
Create fun slices and shapes. Let’s face it: We’re more likely to eat something we find visually appealing. That may mean taking an extra moment to make melon balls, slice apples or pears super thinly, cut multi-colored cherry tomatoes in half and add some balsamic vinaigrette, or cut a regular fruit or vegetable in an unusual way. Sometimes seeing the same thing in a new way adds fresh appeal.
Make a colorful plate. Pile up their plates with yellow, orange, green and red peppers, baby carrots, snap peas, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and celery. Each different color ensures that they’re getting a variety of vitamins, minerals, and important nutrients. Why try to hide something that healthy and beautiful?
Serve a tasty dip. Kids love to dip…everything. So, how about dipping cut up veggies in low-fat ranch dip, salsa, honey mustard dressing, or low-fat spinach dip? You can also try dipping sliced fruit in a fruit dip made with Greek yogurt and all-fruit jam or a little bit of honey.
Create tasty pairings. Fruits and vegetables become more of a healthy and complete meal when they’re paired with protein. How about pairing fruit with cheese, nuts or peanut butter? Or, to increase your intake of vegetables try a brightly colored salad topped with lean protein, cheese, egg, nuts, or seeds. To make it fun, put each ingredient into its own dish so your children can create their own meal.
Choose different textures. A variety of tastes and textures makes food more interesting. Something crunchy with something creamy, something sweet with something salty, even something hot with something cold are a few ideas to try.
Experiment with different preparations. Instead of raw veggies, how about grilling them? Rather than handing your kid a regular apple, how about baking it? You may be surprised by how a different preparation could spark your kid’s interest in something new.
Try something new. Instead of the basics, how about star fruit, pomegranate, mango, or jicama? Adding different types of fruits and vegetables to your typical assortment adds interest…and enjoyment.
* Mott’s Juice Drink provides 1 fruit serving per 8 fl oz. Current USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend a daily intake of 2 cups of fruit for a 2,000 calorie diet. 1 serving = ½ cup of 100% juice
This article is sponsored by Mott’s