Getting kids to eat their veggies can be a huge challenge for us moms. I know with my kids it was and sometimes is an uphill battle. We started choosing a healthier lifestyle after the birth of our 3rd. He is 5 now, and my other two are 10 and 8. Because we started this process when they were young, they have embraced our lifestyle today. But it hasn't been easy.
With our youngest, "green smoothies", or we called them "muscle smoothies", worked best. He didn't like salads at dinner and rarely would eat the veggies served with dinner. I felt more confident that he was getting his nutrients from the smoothies we made. Calling them fun names like "green slime," "muscle smoothie," or "smoothie to grow" made it fun for him. I let him choose the ingredients… we start with a banana, then add apple, carrot, and spinach or kale. Add a little unsweetened almond or coconut milk and blend! We also can sneak some hemp seeds or flax seeds in there too. He loved throwing the ingredients in the blender!
The USDA is now saying we need to have 7-13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. How many do you think we can actually get our kids to have? I know we work really hard at this, but realistically, get 6-7 servings each day.
I've heard of the recipes where you "hide" the veggies in food. This is smart to some extent, but a healthy goal for us moms should be to incorporate raw veggies into their bodies. When we cook down vegetables, we lose some of the enzymes and phytonutrients that actually benefit their immune system and developmental system. A couple foods are actually healthier cooked such as potatoes and tomatoes, but most are healthiest in their raw form.
A fun way to sit down with your kids is to divide foods into 3 categories. Have fun with your kids and make a buffet of food. Let them divide out the food into the 3 areas.
Green Light Foods:
Enjoy these foods all the time! These foods help you "GO!" and grow.
Fresh, local veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes
Nuts and seeds
Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa
100% whole grain breads
Fresh juices and smoothies
Hummus & bean dips
Yellow Light Foods:
Proceed with caution. Only eat these foods sometimes! These foods aren't all bad, but if we eat them all day long, we will go "SLOW"...
Baked chips and crackers
Meat and Dairy
Red Light Foods:
Try to avoid these as much as possible! These foods make you "STOP" and slow you down. They make you feel weak.
Foods you're allergic to
Basically, when you walk around your grocery store, if you start in the produce area you'll notice the perimeter is Green and Yellow light foods, and the middle is mostly Red light foods. Take your kids to the store with you and have them help you shop for the "Go" foods!
Try this little exercise out sometime with your kids. Even young toddlers understand this because they watch your car stop, slow down, and GO! Train them up early and by the time they're my kids' age, they will seek out those foods on their own! I'm so proud of my kids' choices, especially my oldest. She shares her knowledge with her classmates every day.
For more tips and health information, please check out my site www.puregoodness.net. Share some of your thoughts below on this exercise and how it worked for your kids!