*This is a guest post
If you’ve ever struggled to get your child to eat a healthy meal, you’re absolutely not alone. Almost every parent has struggled to instill healthy habits in their children from a young age, but most are used to being left with nothing but disappointment when they realize the sad truth — the majority of children are simply picky eaters.
Instead of giving up completely and letting your child take charge of their own diet with unhealthy foods, it’s important to know that there are plenty of creative ways to sneak healthy foods into your child’s meals. Here are some unique ways to transform classic childhood foods into healthier alternatives, right in your own kitchen.
Pizza is undoubtedly one of every child’s favourite foods. But instead of letting your themeat it directly from their school’s cafeteria, from a greasy pizzeria, or from a “make your own pizza” preservative-filled lunch kit, get creative and use some clever substitutions. Nourish Interactive recommends sending your child to school with a healthier version of a “make your own pizza” lunch kit. Some of the items you may want to include are:
- A whole wheat english muffin for the crust
- Low-sodium pizza sauce
- Low fat mozzarella cheese
- Diced veggies
It may seem like a stretch to give your child veggies to add on their own, but items like onions, peppers, and mushrooms are great topping options. If you want to make the meal extra fun, consider giving your child an assortment of colored veggies and challenge them to make a rainbow pizza.
For dinners at home, consider replacing regular pizza crust with a nutritious cauliflower crust using this recipe from Katie Lee of The Food Network.
Many brand name granola bars are marketed as though they’re healthy snack bars, but in reality they’re typically loaded with as much sugar as a candy bar. Before buying granola bars at the grocery store, read the ingredients list carefully and prioritize healthy snack bars that have fruit, grains, and/or nuts.
If you’re feeling especially creative, this recipe from Minimalist Baker uses just five all-natural ingredients. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
Fruit snacks are a staple that can be found in almost every child’s lunch box. As sweet and delicious as they may be, they’re loaded with sugar, food dye, and artificial flavors. If you want to give your child a sweet treat without the unnecessary health implications, there are multiple ways to do so. This recipe from Weed ‘Em and Reap uses real fruit and gelatin to mimic store-bought fruit snacks; your kids may not even be able to tell the difference!
But if you’re disenchanted with the whole idea of granola bars, trail mix is an excellent option. Ingredients you can use in a homemade trail mix include:
- Raisins or other dried fruit
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
And these are just a few of the things you can throw in! For extra insurance that your children will partake in this healthy snack, ask them what treats they’d like thrown into the healthy mix of dried fruit and roasted nuts.
Crackers and Cheese
Crackers and cheese may seem like a balanced snack with protein, but the prepackaged versions are usually loaded with preservatives and fat. If you want to provide your children with a healthier alternative, consider whole wheat crackers with hummus. Not only is this topping packed with protein, it comes in a wide variety of flavors.
Better yet, making your own hummus is simple! This five-minute hummus recipe from Real Simple will have you making homemade hummus like a pro in no time flat.
It’s no secret that helping your child to develop healthy eating habits can seem like an insurmountable feat, especially considering the increasing rates of over-consumption and obesity in the Western world . But by being proactive and taking food prep into your own hands, it’s possible to help your child learn that a healthy relationship with food begins with interacting with food. Even the smallest of steps can ensure you’re helping your children build a healthy future.
Author bio: Carli Smith is a writer for Nature’s Bakery. She is a yoga enthusiast and loves nothing more than weekend getaways, Disney movies, ocean views and country concerts.