Thursday, December 4, 2014

How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy for Holidays


MBE partnered with Yahoo Parenting for this story

The Art of Hiding Nutritious Ingredients in Kid's Food

Since the beginning of time, it seems, getting your kids to eat foods that are good for them has been a concern and challenge for us parents. During the holidays it's an even bigger issue with moms and dads. Fueled by all the irregular hours, excitement and hyper stimulation, the temptations are everywhere for kids to chow down on excessive amounts of unhealthy stuff like candy and junk food.

Squash vs Candy Conundrum,

Believe me, I'm a mom of four teens and we have been there and done that. Beyond taking your child to meet a good food role model like Martha Stewart, what's a parent to do? Cut out the candy and chips altogether and force the kids to eat all the vegetables on their plate? Or is there a better way?

Martha Stewart with a Young Fan
My daughter meets Martha Stewart,

I've always been a firm believer in both making sure my family maintains a healthy diet and in also allowing sweets and other empty calories in moderation. Life is way too short, not to treat your taste buds to something you really like once in awhile. The reality is, though, anyone who has ever cared for a child, especially a picky eater and hater of vegetables, knows living up to that sort of ideal can seem as impossible as a cow actually jumping over the moon. 

With a little creativity and a few healthful items in your pantry or fridge there is an easy solution. Amy Palanjian's 5 Healthy Foods for Your Toddler story nails it on Yahoo! Parenting. To keep things fun, interesting and nutritious, she often hides some healthy ingredients inside the foods her toddler daughter loves --  such as adding some kale and oats to her child's beloved meatballs. How ingenious is that?

Mini Meatballs With Kale, Photo Credit: Amy Palanjian

Each of these recipes Amy has created are healthy and kid-friendly
  • Crunchy Wild Salmon Cakes
  • Corn Meal Muffins With Yellow Squash & Raisins
  • Whole Grain Mini Meatballs With Kale
  • Cheesy Oat Crackers With Rosemary
  • Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies 
All those meal items sound really delicious, don't they? Amy's clever healthy recipes masquerading as typical not-so-healthy children's fare have been tested by her whole family and are clearly worth trying. 

What's more is that they're also inspiration for thinking of other yummy foods you can sneak onto your kid's plate to create your own original recipes. For example, how does a kuri squash and sweet potatoes dish with no added sugar, sound?

My family loves Roasted Squash,

I'm making the aforementioned Squash and Sweet Potato Casserole I dreamed up while writing this post for dinner tonight and my guess is there won't be any complaints from my kids, much less leftovers. 

You get the idea. The children's healthy menu options you can make for your own family are endless for the the holidays and year-round: Just let your creativity run wild. And don't worry, your taste testers won't be all the wiser.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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