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How Do You Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Foods?

Looking for helpful advice from Mahwah parents

Springtime means a plethora of – from strawberries and grapes to spinach leaves and asparagus are once again gracing our kitchens. The question is – how do I get my kids to eat all of this healthy food?

Jessica Mazzola April 27, 2011 at 05:39 PM
Lauren Rosen emailed me the following, with permission to reprint: "It’s a wonderful question for me to address as I am such a “foodie”. I love to cook and am very conscious of eating healthy. For starters, healthy foods taste great. Sometimes it takes a bit of an adjustment period to change over from foods that are heavily processed and full of salt, sugar, and preservatives, but once you do, it becomes a way of life. As my children were growing up, I instilled in them a love of cooking and food preparation. Today, they blow me away in the kitchen! We started off simply by using plastic utensils to cut up fruits and veggies and used spreads such as peanut butter and cream cheese. We used cookie cutters and decorated our food like we would art work. As the kids got older, we experimented with soups, salads, pasta, rice, and quinoa dishes. I believe that the key to eating fresh and healthy foods is to have them readily available for snacking. Cut up fruits, vegetables, and homemade granola always hit the spot in my home especially during summer berry and melon season. Experiment and Enjoy."
Jessica Mazzola April 27, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Mari Meli emailed me the following, with permission to reprint: "This time of year is the easiest time to get my kids to eat healthy, because the choices are endless. I keep a bowl of fruit on the table at all times. Kids tend to eat what they see, and if it's out, that's what they will pick. With that in mind, I also will just cut up various fruits or veggies, and put them out on the table as well. The kids pass by, snag a bite, and are less likely to ask for chips or cookies as a result. ps-I have long ago abandoned attempts to conceal healthy foods in other things. They catch me every time!" Mari Meli Mom's Council
Suzanne Curry April 27, 2011 at 06:07 PM
Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Jessica Seinfeld. I watch these ladies take fruit and turn it into a clown. I watch Seinfeld conjure up yummy cupcakes that have asparagus and turnip in them. But that's all I do, I just watch them. There a lot of creative ways to sneak healthy food into the normal regime, but it takes time and thinking. I veer away from all of that time consuming food camouflage, but for someone who likes to cook there are a lot of cool ways to sneak healthy foods into recipes. I just keep fruits and veggies and other healthy choices in the house and tell my kids to eat them. If there are only Trader Joe's organic cookies and Health Valley cereal bars in the house out of desperation, even if they are craving Pop Tarts, they will eat them. And they will grow to like them, albeit after much complaining. – see next box
Suzanne Curry April 27, 2011 at 06:08 PM
I also talk about food and read labels to them. I'm probably a little bit too picky but my kids know which cereals and other foods have preservatives and which do not. Just 5 years ago there wasn't much to choose from, as far as all natural processed foods go, but now the choices have expanded. I don't have to go to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods because most major supermarkets have a good supply of organic foods. We've come a long way. This spring I am going to try to experiment with different fruits and vegetables and visit some local farmer's markets. My grandmother had a vegetable garden in her backyard in Garfield and her meals were planned around what was growing. To me she served bean soup way to often, but the point is to use what's there. I think my grandmother would be astounded to see the variety of fruits and vegetables we have available to us in our stores even on the coldest winter day. - see next box
Suzanne Curry April 27, 2011 at 06:08 PM
It's not easy to get children to eat right, and they will eat things we don't want them to, just like we often do. The best we can do is give them guidance and stock our shelves and pantries with mostly good stuff, and hopefully they will make the right choices as they get older. - Suzanne Curry, Writing as a Member of the Mom's Council

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