Any parent knows how hard it can be to make sure their children get the right nutrition. While vitamins and fortified foods can help, true nutrition must come from food itself. Antioxidants, phytochemicals, flavanoids and other disease-fighting nutrients can only be obtained through eating the real deal. How then, can we get our kids to eat these ever-so-healthful dietary needs? By tricking them, of course!
There are many ways to “sneak” healthy foods into dishes that our kids already eat. Children eat with more than their tongues. Sight is in fact the most influential of the five senses children use when determining whether or not to try a food. Most adults can get past a food that looks unappetizing, but in reality tastes very good. Children, however, are not so. By hiding nutritious foods into dishes your children have already established as likeable, nutrients may easily slide by undetected. Use these helpful hints to integrate as many nutrients as possible into your children’s (and maybe even your husband’s) daily diets.
- Shred zucchini with a fine grater and add to spaghetti sauce.
- Replace half of the oil in brownies with canned pumpkin or applesauce.
- Sprinkle ground flaxseed onto cereal or oatmeal.
- Make wraps instead of sandwiches, stuffing them full of leafy greens
- Buy whole grain white bread. It looks and tastes just like regular white bread.
- Add a clove of fresh minced garlic to pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese, soups, and stews.
- Squirt fresh lemon or lime juice into water or iced tea.
- Grind up almonds or walnuts to a powder and add to salad dressings and sauces.
- Always use canola or olive oils for cooking.
- Hide finely chopped vegetables under cheese on pizza.
- Mix chopped black beans into taco meat.
- Layer a sub sandwich with meat, cheese, and thin cucumber slices.
- If you drink 2% milk, try 1% or half 2% and half skim.
- Stir fresh fruit into yogurt.
- Make your own popsicles out of 100% fruit juice.
- Put popsicle sticks into yogurt cups and freeze them for an alternative to ice cream.
These tips will help you get started sneaking nutrition into regular, everyday foods. Once you change the way you think about preparing foods for your family, you will quickly find other ways to integrate nutritious fruits and vegetables, monunsaturated oils, low-fat dairy, and whole grains into your meals. Good luck, and happy, healthy eating!