If you’ve got a picky eater, getting them to eat healthy foods can be a real battle. Since toddlers and children can be very stubborn people, sometimes it’s just easier to hide the healthy foods inside ones they love. Here are five easy ways to help your children eat more nutritious foods.
Macaroni and Cheese with Hidden Cauliflower
Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? This rich and creamy meal is super tasty, but can make anyone feel guilty eating it, let alone feeding it to your kids. With the simple addition of cauliflower, no one will know, but it will be much healthier while still tasting delicious. If you want to make it even healthier, use whole wheat macaroni.
Simple Instructions: Finely chop half a head of cauliflower and add to your macaroni cooking pot a few minutes before the pasta is done. Drain noodles and cauliflower, then stir in pre-made cheese sauce. Heat the sauce and serve.
Fruit Smoothie with Spinach
Smoothies are like breakfast milkshakes full of hidden fruits and vegetables. A simple smoothie with banana, frozen fruit, milk, yogurt and orange juice is a great way to start the day. If your toddler doesn’t eat many vegetables, just add a handful or two of spinach to your smoothie. They won’t even know it’s in there, and they’ll start their day with a serving or two of fruits and veggies. Experiment with the quantities of fruits and veggies that work for your family, and blend up a big smoothie every morning to make breakfast time easy.
Spaghetti with Grated Carrots
Yet another family favourite, spaghetti is easy to make, and easy to hide veggies in. Cook up your favourite spaghetti recipe, and add a few finely grated carrots to the sauce. Since the carrots are finely grated, they stick to the other ingredients in the sauce and won’t be noticed by picky toddlers. Go with whole wheat noodles as well to keep your meal healthier.
Apple and Peanut Butter
Probably one of the easiest healthy snacks, this is one not many people think of. Grab an apple and slice it up. To cut it faster, slice on either side of the core, and then slice those pieces perpendicular to your first cut. Do the same with the other two sides of the core. Serve with a dollop of your favourite brand of peanut butter and you’re done! Great for toddlers and kids who like dipping. If a whole apple is too much for your child, eat the other half yourself!
Your Favourite Baked Treat – With Bran
This one takes a little more work, but definitely decreases the guilt you may feel giving your child cookies and homemade baked treats. Baking with and for your kids can be a lot of fun, but sometimes knowing how much sugar is actually in something can take some of the enjoyment out of eating it. An easy way to change this is to decrease the sugar and add in some fibre. Depending on the recipe, you should be able to take out a quarter cup or more of sugar without anyone noticing. You can also add in a quarter to half a cup of fibre, such as bran, to add more fibre to your toddler’s diet. You might need to experiment a bit with your recipe, but most of the time these small adjustments won’t be noticed in cookies or muffins.
These are just five simple ideas to help your toddler eat healthier. Use them as a starting point for increasing the vegetables and fruit in your child’s diet. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll be able to think of other simple ways you can adjust your meals to contain healthy hidden foods.