We’ve all definitely heard how we need to feed our kids healthy food on a consistent basis. But try telling that to my 6 year old and 8 year old boys when they want pizza and won’t eat anything else. My kids, and I’m sure most of yours, are notoriously picky eaters and getting them to eat salad and broccoli can sometimes be a pain in the neck. But after having been a mother for almost a decade, I’ve discovered a few tricks that can get your kids to eat healthier without them even noticing it. So if you’re tired of wrestling with your kids every night at dinnertime, try these simple and easy meal tweaks.
Substitute white bread for brown
This is a really easy switch and most likely your kids won’t be able to tell the difference. It’s so important to feed your kids whole grains because they’re filled with fiber and essential nutrients. They ensure that your child’s digestive system continues to work properly as he or she grows. What I’ve done in the morning is switch my kids over from white toast to brown toast. I put enough jam on there that they can’t actually tell I’ve changed the bread. I’ll also do little things like make hot dogs with whole wheat buns or wraps using whole wheat pitas.
Buy whole grain cereal
After having fed my kids for years, I started to notice that they weren’t as picky in the mornings. Neither of them is really a morning person and they were usually too tired or groggy to notice what I was putting in front of them. Because of this, I started to sneak much healthier things into their breakfasts and they would eat it up. I started serving them whole grain cereal and I would put some freshly cut bananas or berries into it and they actually ended up enjoying it. I noticed they became more energetic for school and I was happy they were getting enough grains for the day.
Substitute white pasta with whole grain
I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love lasagna, spaghetti, and fettucini. Pasta is one of those great family foods because adults like that it’s healthy and kids love the taste. Switching from white to whole wheat isn’t really difficult because the taste is buried underneath the sauce. Whenever I serve spaghetti to my kids now they don’t even notice that the noodles are any different. Simply making this switch can increase your child’s fiber intake from 10 grams to almost triple that amount.
Serve them “fried” rice
My kids are absolutely crazy about Chinese food and they get excited anytime we suggest ordering it in. When I started to pick up a few recipes from cookbooks I noticed that my kids were equally excited with my homemade versions. And it’s so funny that one dish that pretty much any kid likes is fried rice. My kids find it a lot of fun to eat and I think they get a thrill from eating something fried (i.e. junk food). Where I mix things up is in the amount of oil I use and the type of rice I choose. I actually go with brown rice because it’s a source of healthy whole grains and it’s got so many more nutrients than white rice. My kids love it and don’t even notice that they’re eating healthy.
Give them popcorn
I was so surprised to learn that popcorn is actually a decent source of whole grains and that it can actually be good for the body. Of course, this is only the case if you make fresh popcorn and you eliminate the butter content. Popcorn is one of my kids’ favorite snacks and now that I know it’s good for them, I never hesitate giving it to them when they’re watching television or wanting snack.
If you’ve got picky eaters who have a thing for refined carbs, try these simple and easy switches that’ll have then eating whole grains in no time. The trick is to make the substitutions small and almost unnoticeable. For great, healthy recipes that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters, check out allthingsrice.com for terrific suggestions and ideas.