It is important to ensure that your kids eat healthy, at least for the majority of the time. However, trying to combine nutrition with kid-appeal is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you to plan nutritious meals for the whole family.
Opt for a rainbow of ingredients
Eating a wide variety of foods of different colors is important for a healthy diet. The added advantage is that children enjoy food that looks colorful. Factor in their favorite fruit and vegetables, but also try new and exciting vegetables on a regular basis. A vegetable medley of courgette, butternut squash, aubergine, sweetcorn and peppers, for example, is eye-catching, but is also highly nutritious and makes a great accompaniment for meat dishes. If you don?t know much about nutrition and the importance of eating a rainbow of foods, then educate yourself and improve your own diet at the same time.
Sneak in extra vegetables and fruit
If your children aren’t very fond of vegetables, there are plenty of ways that you can disguise them by mixing them in with other foodstuffs, particularly if they are finely chopped. Provided that you cook from scratch rather than rely on ready-made meals, you can bulk up spaghetti bolognaise or lasagne with vegetables, especially pepper, onions and tomatoes. Finely chopping spinach and incorporating it can add a healthy portion of iron. When it comes to desserts, cook from scratch and add in plenty of fresh fruit to cut down on the amount of sugar.
Have a selection of non-perishable fruit and vegetables
You may find that your children are picky about their food and that you are constantly buying fruit and vegetables that go to waste. One way around this is to opt for frozen fruit and vegetables; then you can use what you need when you need it and save the rest for another time.
Tinned fruit and vegetables are also an option, although you should pay attention to salt and sugar levels. Tins enable you to have a wider variety of healthy choices that your kids can make, and may introduce them to new favorites.
Seek advice from the Internet and other sources
It can be tempting to stick to the meals that you know your kids will eat, but a repetitive diet isn’t very healthy. Take the key ingredients your kids enjoy and find other recipes based on them. Recipe ideas abound on the Internet, and friends and family will probably have a few ideas too. You can then slip in a couple of new ingredients and increase their palates even more.
Cook in bulk and freeze for variety
Although it is far more sensible for everyone eat the same meal, there may be times when your kids just refuse to eat something you?ve given them. However, if you cook a couple of extra portions of each meal and freeze them, then you will have quick and easy options at the ready. Having frozen meals on hand also ensures that you have something nutritious for those days when you just don?t feel like cooking.
You can provide nutritious meals if you plan ahead and cook from scratch. Cater to your kids’ tastes to ensure that they will actually eat the meal by all means, but at the same time, introduce new items regularly to increase options.