Kids are known to be picky eaters, making them eat what is healthy and will help them stay active is a difficult task altogether. Children often develop a natural preference for food they enjoy eating the most. So, the challenge is to make healthy choices appealing. No matter how good your intentions are, it is always going to be difficult for you to convince your child that fruits are as sweet as blueberry cheesecake.
We have a solution to this. How about covering up healthy meals under the wrap of their favourite food? Without making healthy food dull, give junk food a makeover with staples like multi-grain, wheat and ragi accompanied by goodness of vegetables and fruits.
According to Ritika Samaddar, Delhi based nutritionist, “The body requirements of children vary according to different age groups. Young children are attracted to various shapes, sizes and bright colours. Green roti for instance can be roti with goodness of spinach or fried rice with a pinch of turmeric and green vegetables. Another way is batter fried vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes. Also, provide your kids with a lot of probiotics like curd with freshly chopped mangoes or cucumber or sweet lassi.”
Rewrite the menu for your kids. They would still have pizzas but made with a multi-grain base and healthy veggies as toppings. They would still munch on cookies but swap store bought ones to calcium rich ragi cookies. That’s a great way to curb their fast food cravings and keep an eye on their salt and sugar intake.
Another way to get them to eat healthy meals is to work on the presentation. A bowl of soup with a dash of crème poured artistically or chopped fruits like bananas, strawberries, oranges, kiwis presented creatively on a plate with loud and bright colours will pull kids towards fun foods.
Nutritionist Ritika Samaddar suggests, “You should play with colours and make efforts for presentation of the food. Cold and colourful fruits like watermelons are always a hit. Watermelon cut into triangles with the rind still attached works well in my home.”
“Alternatively, a melon baller can be used to make balls from watermelon and musk melon. This is a great 11 am snack along with some nuts,” says Bangalore based Shalini Manglani.
Draw a smile on their faces with a batch of ragi cookies. Ragi is packed with calcium which makes it great for kids in their growing phase. Ragi turns brown on roasting and can easily pass off as chocolate cookies. You can also try oatmeal and raisin cookies for variety. Let them experiment in the kitchen with you while baking, this way you could make them learn about healthy eating. (More on Ragi)
Marinated bananas with lemon and sea salt coated with bread crumbs and dessicated coconut and then baked to perfection. Honey over caramelized bananas? Yum! Kids won’t be able to resist this one. (More about Coconuts)
Blend Kiwi, melon, grapes, papaya, honey, milk and oats together to get a delicious and refreshing smoothie for summers. You can serve this fulfilling cold beverage between meals or as a quick healthy breakfast. (More about Kiwis)