Hey Compassionate One,

One Simple, Enormous Step to Teaching your Kids to Eat Healthy.

We don’t need science to tell us that, given the choice between veggies and candy, the average child will choose the sugar. And science confirms that 80 per cent of children will make the unhealthy choice. Children are pretty easy to entice, though. When researchers added an Elmo sticker to broccoli, as many as 50 per cent of children went for the green. As discussed in the next section, a similar effect can be observed in schools when cafeterias make an effort to make healthy food options more appealing.

We’d be wise to ask how we could cut up veggies so children would eat more. Size? Shape? Whole or chopped? Test results have been crystal clear. Shape appears to be most important to children, who prefer cut vegetables, especially in shapes like stars. Sticks proved no more appealing than whole vegetables. And when it comes to size, a normal size tends to be preferable to miniature.

Additionally, if a child is particularly resistant to eating a certain veggie, one study suggests that pairing it with peanut butter works well to increase consumption. Other healthy dips are a great alternative. Disguising veggies also proved effective in upping children’s intake; however, pureeing broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, and other vegetables into familiar dishes without changing the texture or flavour of those foods is not the most sustainable way to get our children eating healthier. After all, it takes repeated trials for children to develop a taste for foods they may initially find unappealing. Ultimately, hiding their veggies in other dishes won’t do them any long-term favours.

Most important of all is how we try to feed our children healthy foods. One study looked at different parenting styles and correlation to vegetable intake in children. The most important factor in children’s fruit and vegetable consumption was their parents. Children whose parents ate more healthy foods (modeling these choices for them) made similar choices. It’s that simple.

Start by giving yourself a kitchen makeover. Make your kitchen as sexy as you are, dear.

10 Tips for your kitchen make over:

  1. Remove temptation: clear out all junk food and processed food from the cupboard, fridge, freezer and pantry.
  2. Hang signs around the kitchen with a lists of ready-to-snack foods. Fridge: “Delicious cherries, hummus and veggies sticks.” Freezer: “Saltana and apricot logs, berries and mangoes for smoothies.” Pantry: “Dried fruit, dates, popcorn, almonds.” Make it easy and fun. Here’s your chance to get creative and wild!
  3. Keep a bowl of raw fruits and veggies in the living area or kitchen, or anywhere most convenient and well-traveled by family members. Go for the most grabbable, nutrient-rich goodies! Suggestions: Apple slices drizzled with lemon (to keep from browning), grapes, carrot and celery sticks, snow peas, strawberries, and cut pineapple. Maybe add a healthy nut or bean dip near the veggies.
  4. Stock the fridge with some fast meals on the go for busy times. Suggestions: steamed corn on the cob (keep dental floss nearby) or mixed nuts and fruit (let your kids choose their favourite combos and put aside with their name on it to grab).
  5. Soak oats in dairy-free milk or fresh squeezed juice overnight. Lay out oats and toppings for a fun, customizable breakfast. Topping suggestions: saltanas, chia seeds (soaked or not), hemp seeds, maple syrup, coconut, almonds, dates, and fresh fruit. Mix, match, and savour!
  6. Freeze super ripe fruit for smoothies and sorbets.
  7. Stock veggies that you also like frozen.
  8. Only keep breads and crackers that are 100% plant-based. Check those ingredient labels!
  9. Get rid of butter and margarine. Replace with vegan butter and ripe avocados. Spread avocado on bread just like butter and watch how much your family loves the lusciousness.  
  10. Have fresh fruit ready for the family first thing in the morning.

This content is adapted from my soon to be published book HEALTHY, SEXY, VEGAN MUMMAYour plant-based family guide. But you don’t have to wait to get started because the first book of the HEALTHY, SEXY, VEGAN. series is already available. Get your copy HERE.

Xx,

Donna