Everyone knows that the childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing, but how do we reverse that trend? One way is to get children in the habit of healthy eating. If you can get kids to enjoy fruits, vegetables and whole grains, then you can set them up for a lifetime of healthier eating and living. Easier said than done, I know, many young children are picky about what they eat and many get concerned about trusting foods they have never eaten. Compartmental containers is a great way to introduce new foods to younger children, its interesting, colorful and unintimidating. Other ways to introduce new food combinations are as follows:
Cut fruits into interesting and fun shapes, stars, ½ moons circles, squares, doughnut shaped. Or try fruits that naturally have an interesting shape, like carambola — who wouldn't want to eat a star?
Put cut foods on a stick- fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese or a combination. Food on a stick is always more fun.
Use familiar terms: Dips and chips, mac and cheese, macaroni and meatballs, chicken fingers. You don't have to advertise up front that things are made with low-fat cheese, skim milk, turkey meat balls, that the dip is really made with yogurt, or the chips and chicken fingers are baked not fried. Let the kids be the judge, and once they are one board with the tastes you can start a conversation about health benefits.
Decorate a bowl of whole grain cereal with a smiley face. Blueberry eyes, raisin nose, peach or apple slices for the mouth.
Make your own frozen fruit sticks or pops with fresh juices, non fat yogurt studded with whole chunks of fruits and berries, then dipped in a little chocolate for an extra treat.
Milk Shakes? Or actually smoothies is another great snack that can be sweetened with a little honey and ripened fruit, non fat yogurt, skim milk and ice blended into a smooth shake.
Add fresh and dried fruits, as well as vegetables to whole grain baked goods, Blueberry banana and strawberry pancakes. Zucchini, carrot, banana, sweet potato muffins or bread.