It’s a mealtime dilemma for many families. You come home after a long day at work, pull together a tasty, nutritious dinner for your family and invite everyone to sit down together at the table.
That’s when it starts: the veggie standoff. You watch your child enjoy their chicken and dig into their pasta. But, by the end of the meal, their portion of vegetables remains untouched, and there’s no easy way to convince them to eat it.
Ensuring kids are eating the right amount of vegetables for a healthy diet is a big concern for parents – right up there with making sure they are getting enough sleep. What’s a busy and exhausted parent to do?
Recommended servings of vegetables
According to U.S. government nutrition guidelines, children between ages 2-6 should be getting three servings of vegetables a day. A serving is one cup of raw, leafy vegetables, or a half cup of other cooked or raw vegetables. Children older than 6 need even more. For them, the World Health Organization recommends five to nine servings each day.
Healthy eating habits formed when we’re young influence our lifestyle as adults. So making sure children are getting enough vegetables into their diet now gives them a better opportunity for a healthy diet as they grow older.
If your child isn’t fond of vegetables, and you’re tired of the mealtime battle of wills, there are other ways to make sure your little one is getting the proper nutrition – and they don’t even have to know.
More than potatoes: Get sneaky with vegetables
Most kids love potatoes in any form: baked, mashed, chips, skins, hashbrowns or fries. Technically, french fries are a vegetable! Unfortunately, the way they are typically made usually negates any nutritious factors. But that’s okay because there are plenty of other tasty vegetables in the world that can be just as good as potatoes and provide your little ones with essential nutrients.
Kids may turn up their noses at vegetables in their regular form, but gobble them down when they are chopped, blended or mashed and secretly included in their favorite dishes. Here are a few suggestions for sneaking in other vegetables into your kids’ meals, making them look and taste great.
Spinach is a great source of iron, a staple nutrient in your child’s development. Chopped fine, these leafy greens will be undetected when stirred into pasta sauce. Or you can toss a handful into your blender when you’re making a blueberry or raspberry smoothie. The kids won’t notice the extra serving of fiber and vitamin A, but you’ll know it’s in there.
Cooked and mashed, this sweet-tasting source of vitamin C can be stirred into macaroni and cheese, whisked into french toast batter or slipped into any other number of casseroles, soups or sauces. Another option for this sweeter cousin in the potato family: Chop it up like french fries and roast it in the oven. A little olive oil and seasoning goes a long way toward making it seem like a traditional fry!
Chopped small and cooked, these can be tucked into meatballs or burgers. Or mash them up and add them to a pasta sauce. Your kids will still be slurping up their spaghetti none the wiser. Like sweet potatoes, carrots can be prepared like french fries as well. Consider a medley of fries at your next meal.
This veggie packs a surprising punch of vitamin C, and its light color makes it easy to cook and stir into scrambled eggs. It can also be steamed and served like mashed potatoes, or you can stir it into an Alfredo sauce or soups. Chopped small it can easily replace rice in many dishes, too. You’re really only limited by your imagination!
Nutritional supplements for kids
Another way to be sure children get the nutrients they need is to make a nutritional supplement part of their daily routine. Nutrilite™ supplements offer a wide range of products for children. To learn more about Nutrilite products formulated for children, visit the links below. And for more tips on nutrition, check out other blogs at Amway Connections.
Between the goodness of supplements and a few sneaky veggie tricks, rest assured your picky eater will be getting all the good nutrition they need.
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