This month’s blog is about feeding kids right, written by our good friend, Alyssa Bauman. Alyssa has been a health coach in Vancouver for the past 5 years, before that she was a food writer in New York City. She graduated from Boston University with a BA in Food Science. Here’s just some of her great advice: Feeding kids can be a challenge I know, but it’s all in the mindset. Instead of thinking of cooking ‘for’ the kids, try cooking with the kids. With picky eaters and fierce aversions to veggies, it can be a challenge, I know. My now 9-year old virtually ate nothing when she was a toddler. Now she eats anything—almost. Change the way you think about cooking and you will already instill healthier habits in both you and yours.
COOK ONE MEAL When kids see what we eat, they naturally want to try it. Start with this now. I have seen so many moms stressing making two, three dinners a night. STOP. We are not short order cooks. The kids eat what we eat. END OF STORY. I know this may seem Draconian, but I promise they won’t starve. If there are no other alternatives offered they will eventually eat. That being said, super hot, spicy and overly powerful flavours aren’t the best ways to win over fresh palettes.
GET KIDS INVOLVED I can’t believe how many times I say this. I feel like I’m on repeat. So here goes: Let them stir, wash, strain, dump, crack, pour, measure, juice, squeeze, etc. Yes, two-year olds can play in the kitchen. Clearly age appropriate jobs work best. When kids get to help prepare, they’re more likely to not only try different foods but also eat their creations. It’s all about control. Let them think they are in control and they will eat.
Allow them to put together their meals as they want (within reason). Have a salad or a bowl of whole grains for the base and then let the kids add what they want to it—different veggies that are pre-cut or steamed, different dipping sauces, warmed beans, etc. You will be shocked at the creations they come up with and EAT. My pickiest went from plain pasta girl to quinoa-and-avocado freak.
Bring them to the grocery store and farmer’s markets. Skip the center aisles and head straight to produce. Let them pick something new you can cut up and try together at home. This also allows them to follow food from the market to table, and get them way more interested in the finished product.
PRESENTATION IS KEY Kids respond well to extra effort. Kids will eat Kale. Have you tried chopping it up in tiny pieces and putting it out on the table as kale fairy dust? (Yes I have three girls) My 3-year old sprinkles it on everything. I have clients in utter shock thanking me that their kids are asking for kale dust.
Try layering fruits in a glass to make rainbows; cut up veggies in a smiley face; my girls are eating plain leafs of spinach and kale dipped in their favourite sauce. Freeze a Gogo Juice in a popsicle mold. Taking just a few seconds to arrange the food could make all the difference.
For more information on Alyssa please visit: www.nourished.ca