January comes with a lot of adults deciding to get healthy which is difficult to stick to in itself – I for one have very little will power – but it becomes a lot easier if the kids are on board too. Again, getting little mouths to even contemplate eating healthy food can be difficult as they often say they don’t like the taste, but here are some top tips that’ll get them eating their veggies before you know it.
Hidden vegetables used to be a life saver in our house. Recipes like cottage pie are great because the kids don’t generally notice the carrots and peas that are packed in there because the recipe itself is so tasty. As well as adding vegetables to the mince mixture, consider shredding some leeks in the mashed potato on top.
Cottage pie’s not the only dish good for hidden goodness though. You could try incorporating grated vegetables into pasta sauces. Most kids love pasta and will tolerate tomatoes on a pasta dish so for a healthier alternative go for wholemeal pasta and add some grated or spiralised vegetables in there too.
Fish is another dish that’s famously difficult to get into a child’s diet but I found that involving them in the cooking process gets them much more excited about what they’re about to eat, whatever it is. Sushi is a particularly good choice for trying out this tactic, as it’s quick and easy to make with little mess created. If you’re really stuck for time with after school clubs, swimming classes and trying to get the house straight then ordering sushi from a takeaway is something you can do without feeling guilty. As one of the healthiest takeaway options you and the kids can enjoy a nutritious and adventurous meal that you’ll all enjoy. If you’re unsure, you can find your local sushi takeaway here. Sushi is often associated with raw fish, which should be avoided for younger children, but you can make your own sushi rolls using crab sticks, tinned tuna or any cooked fish cut up small. There are also lots of vegan options available, you could try avocado and cucumber rolls, grated carrot and peppers or even asparagus spears.
It’s important to get a good variety of foods into your child’s diet otherwise they’re likely to get bored and reject the food on their plate. Young kids are not likely to eat heaps of steamed vegetables put on their plate so it’s better to roast the vegetables with some lemon and chicken or putting a few on the top of a pizza. You could also try having a bit of fun at dinnertime by playing a game and arranging vegetables on the plate to make shapes. It’s definitely a good idea to offer a treat afterwards if your child chooses to eat them, not every time but it’s a good idea for the first few times.
If you’ve tried many different tactics for getting your kids to eat their vegetables and none of it seems to have worked, then you could have a go at combining vegetables with a variety of different dips. Raw carrots go really well with humus or a ranch dressing and you could even try celery with a mild salsa dip. Children like the idea of dipping their food into sauces and once they’ve tried the vegetables, they may realise that they like the taste and be more open to trying them alongside other meals.