It seems that, in the past few years, children have started becoming increasingly picky with food - healthier foods in particular. In fact, we bet many of the parents reading this are nodding their heads furiously. If you are one of these head-nodders, we know you're probably wondering how you could change this situation on a daily basis - right?
Well, for starters, we want to encourage you not to cave in. Don’t give your kids the food they think they want just because it is easier than many of the tantrums that can flare up with their ‘dislike’ of the meal that was freshly prepared for them.
Any child will opt for the junk if they have the choice – the processed foods, biscuits and snacks covered in sugar. Nodding again? We thought so. The kind of food that gives them a sudden burst of energy yet has the end result of them crashing out of exhaustion soon after. This isn’t going to keep them going for the remainder of the day.
This is a frightening truth as we are already living in a world that is becoming increasingly obese (children included!). From a young age, a child's diet impacts their behaviour, brain and health choices as an adult and the first two years of their life set the building blocks for their future.
So, how do we get kids to eat good food? Well, we've got the answer and it comes from tapping into your creativity! Each of the health- and kid-friendly meals we're about to show you took us a maximum of eight minutes to prepare - that’s no time at all! Your kids are bound to love these creations.
A great idea is to recreate their favourite animal or character with food. “What about the waste?” you might ask. We took care of it – we ate all of the scraps. Let’s face it, when else does a parent find the time to eat? We would have once looked at photos like the ones in this article and pushed them aside thinking they were far too much of a mission but, to be perfectly honest, we had the time of our life creating these. Your older kids can even take a few bites and then recreate their own artwork out of their lunch. See, sometimes playing with your food is actually a good thing.
Before you get started, be sure to have a combination of fruit, protein (nuts, beans, grains, hard-boiled egg, meat, cheese, etc.) and greens at hand, and know that you cannot go wrong with colour and fun. Go wild!
P.S. If your young child doesn't like something on one day, don't force it - just wait a couple days and try again. Force feeding of particular foods can put a child off for life. But offer again a few days later and you may be surprised as a chid's tolerance for textures and tastes change in a matter of days!
By Lisa Harrison