I know all kids are different and what works for one may not work for the other, but I also know that sometimes we don't give our children and chance to Just Eat Real Food (JERF). Don't get me wrong my children will still eat chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese when we go out, but at home it is 100% real food. I have control of what goes in my fridge and pantry and I have control of what goes in their mouths. And guess what moms, our kids will sometimes surprise us. I know my kids will ask for fruit and nuts more than anything else for a snack during the day. They will eat every gluten/dairy/soy/grain free treat that I make and love it just as much as an oreo. And sometimes they like things that you would think they would despise. I mean my 4 yr old will ask for eggs and brussel sprouts for breakfast. c'mon! But you know what? She would never know she loves them if I hadn't first given her the opportunity to try them.
So parents, if you are interested, here are a few tips to get your kids used to eating real unprocessed foods.
1. Give them a chance - You HAVE to let them try new fruits and veggies. Don't skip by them in the grocery store just because you don't like them or THINK they won't.
2. Let them pick out a new fruit or veggie to try - We do this ALL the time! My 4 yr old LOVES it and my 2 yr old is starting to get in on the fun now. It was through this process that my daughters found out they love those little furry fruits called kiwi. When they picked it up they thought it was strange and had no idea what was on the inside, but felt they would be very brave that day and pick it out! :) This week they picked out a Japanese sweet potato. "Ooooh, It is purple on the outside!!! : )
3. Try things more than once and more than one way - A prime example of this goes back to the brussel sprouts. We tried them three different ways before we found a way that my 4 yr old liked. We blanched and shredded the leaves and that was yucky. We steamed them and that was yucky. And finally we roasted them in the oven until they got a tiny bit crispy on the edges and those were YUMMY. The same kind of thing with my 2 yr. old. I tried baby carrots, and carrot sticks and carrots sliced in to rounds and she wouldn't have it at all. But one day as I shredded some carrots I figured I'd give it another shot. Sure enough she will eat carrots if they are shredded.
4. Try the "not my favorite veggie" with a healthy dip - My kids don't like celery on it's own but with a dap of almond butter they will munch it up. Or cucumbers for example (not my 2 yr olds favorite) but she loves it if she can dip it in baba ganoush (roasted eggplant dip)
5. Let them help you cook - Oh my, this is huge in this house!! Both of my girls help me cook. It makes them so excited to eat a meal that they helped prepare. Also, tell them about how each food nourishes their body. For example, how does this broccoli help our bodies?? Or what's so great about kale? We also talk about which food is a protein, carb, and a healthy fat.
6. Be prepared - Step away from the cookie jar, and have some nuts and fruit washed and ready for when those little tummies get to rumbling and they need a snack ASAP!
Those are just a few things that have helped me along the way. I hope it gives you a bit of help too!! :)
BTW - here is my favorite recipe for baba ganoush from one of my favorite bloggers Melissa Joulwan @ www.theclothesmakethegirl.com