How to Sneak a Healthy Diet Past Your Veggie-Wary Kids

HomeArticlesHow to Sneak a Healthy Diet Past Your Veggie-Wary Kids

Does your child cringe, cry, or dry-heave at the sight of salad or any other vegetable on their dinner plate? Do they prefer to snack on candy, baked goods, chips, and other unhealthy things all day long? Unfortunately, many parents are in the exact same boat with their picky eaters — yet they manage to eat their greens. Encouraging a young person to adopt a healthy diet, though, can feel like a constant battle. As frustrating as it may be, it’s nevertheless important to be persistent.

Children who subsist primarily on junk food will suffer in terms of physical and mental health. They may also experience slowed development and succumb to frequent mood swings. Fortunately, there are creative things you can do to make nutritious foods more appealing to kids. Here are a few ways to sneakily include healthy foods into your children’s diets without causing a dinner table fight.

Make Nutrient-Dense Smoothies

Green things are usually the stuff of nightmares for veggie-wary kids. From lettuce to broccoli, anything green is likely to cause a tantrum loud enough for the neighbors to hear. But those green foods are so important for your little one’s health because they’re practically bursting with nutrients. According to Beast Health, they’re an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy growth and development. They also contain fiber, which is important for avoiding constipation.

To “trick” your children into consuming more green things, make secretly healthy smoothies that taste like a treat. Simply puree fresh fruits and vegetables together in a base of water or skim milk with plenty of ice. It can be hard to get the right balance of fruits to veggies for a sweet taste, but you’ll get better at it with practice. For days when you’re short on time, keep packets of super greens powder handy. That way, you won’t have to worry about the time-consuming process of washing and prepping your fruits and vegetables.

Replace Store-Bought Popcorn With a Healthier Homemade Version

There is one high-fiber, whole-grain, antioxidant-containing food most kids do love — popcorn. Unfortunately, many parents don’t know what ingredients are lurking in the movie theater popcorn they buy at the store. That delectable flavor comes with a regrettable side of unhealthy trans fats, sodium, and synthetic preservatives. Though popcorn itself is a healthy snack, it’s not worth ingesting all of the other harmful ingredients that come along with it.

The good news is that homemade popcorn is one of the easiest things in the world to make. You don’t even need a popcorn popper if you have a large wok, skillet, or saucepan with a lid. You can add your own butter, salt, and other seasonings — in moderation — to create a mouthwatering snack that’s free from harmful chemicals.

Create Fun Shapes Out of Colorful Veggies

Sometimes, children just need some distraction to help them enjoy nutritious foods. A bit of creativity, for example, can turn an ordinary plate of vegetables into an exciting culinary adventure. Two olives on a plate look like eyes when they’re accompanied by a baby carrot “nose” and a smiling mouth made from sugar snap peas.

There are countless ways to combine veggies and fruits to make fun shapes your kids will love. If you need some inspiration, search online for ways to make fun shapes out of healthy ingredients. You’ll soon see that some designs are more complex than others. Choose the difficulty level you’re capable of and have fun with it!

Add Fruit to Baked Goods

Most kids love to indulge in baked treats whenever possible. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to hide healthy fruit inside cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. Strawberries, for example, taste delicious when pureed and tucked inside a jelly roll. Similarly, you can add blueberries to any basic muffin recipe to increase your child’s vitamin and antioxidant consumption.

You can also significantly reduce the calories in most baked goods by replacing one cup of oil with one cup of applesauce. You can also use applesauce as a one-to-one substitute for butter. Many people actually prefer the taste and texture of their baked goodies when they switch out less-healthy ingredients with nutrient-packed applesauce. Give it a try and see how your kids respond.

Replace Candy With Dried Fruit

Snacking on candy all day makes kids more susceptible to obesity and increases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It will also damage their teeth and lead to more frequent cavities. But it can be so hard to break a candy habit once it’s formed. Some parents try to prevent their kids from acquiring a sugar habit by refusing to provide any goodies at all. But this can often backfire by making children crave sweet things even more.

A better option may be to offer healthier — but still sweet — alternatives. If your child doesn’t like the texture of fresh fruit, they may love dried fruit. Try making or buying dehydrated apple and pear slices to see how your little one responds. You could even incorporate dried fruits into a homemade trail mix with nuts. Some kids go crazy for the combination of sweet and salty flavors.

Parents have their work cut out for them when it comes to getting their veggie-phobic kids to consume enough nutrients. But with a little creativity and stealth, you can sneak healthy foods into any child’s diet without them ever knowing.

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