I recently came across an article from Parents.com
. It has some great tips on how to help picky eaters get better nutrition. Here is some advice from the article and some advice of my own that I have thrown into the mix.
This caught my attention...."In one recent study from the University of Rochester Medical Center, nearly 60 percent of adolescents ate only about one fruit or veggie a day". 60%...only one fruit OR veggie???? I guess I have been REALLY lucky that Mason is still a great eater. He is usually not picky and will eat just about any fruit and will eat veggies like peas, carrots, corn, etc. If your child is on the picky side, maybe some of these ideas could help you. And, as you read this, always remember: Don't assume kids won't like it.
It is often our likes and dislikes that are unknowingly put upon a child. In fact, a recent Penn State University study found that using "stealth vegetables" -- hiding them in sauces so that kids don't automatically recognize them -- helped boost preschoolers' veggie intake and slash their calorie consumption significantly compared to those who ate pasta without extra vegetables tossed in.
Marinara sauce is a good start, "But you can doctor it up by mixing in a can of antioxidant-packed diced tomatoes before heating in a saucepan." Then toss in shredded carrots, chopped mushrooms, and onions to beef up the veggie quotient even more. I have already put up one of my favorite posts about putting sweet potatos in pasta sauce
. I do this every time Mason eats pasta!
Tofu? Yes, Tofu. I have been sneaking Tofu in dozens of Mason's meals! Tofu is great for babies 7 months and older. Tofu does not have to be cooked because it is made from cooked soybeans. You can mix, mash, puree, or chunk Tofu. Add it to cereal, fruits, veggies. It is a great finger food too, since it can be served in chunks or strips!
I add Tofu to anything with a sauce or broth. Mason just thinks it is chunks of pasta or veggies since it absorbs the taste of the sauce it is in. To boost the nutrition in "on the go" foods like Pasta Pickups, I add Tofu and mixed veggies. Again, don't assume your child will not like it. It's worth a try!!!!
Healthier chicken nuggets? Skip the premade stuff. Instead, dip chicken breasts or tenders in egg wash (a mix of egg whites and skim milk), then in seasoned bread crumbs or crushed corn flakes. Bake in the oven at 425 degrees F. for 20 minutes.
Greasy French fries? Make your own baked sweet potato fries -- they're packed with vitamin A and also provide some fiber if you leave the skin on. I made these a couple of weeks ago and Mason gobbled them down. You would be surprised how many fries you get from 1 medium sized potato. You can also slice up the sweet potato and freeze "fries" for later use.
- If you cannot make it homemade and make it from the box, you can just add some frozen mixed vegetables, like cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, which help to boost this high-fat, low-fiber entree.
And as always, if you cook from scratch often, make your dish even healthier with whole wheat pasta and low-fat cheese. "Try flavor-packed cheddar instead of processed American".
Some meals may take a little more time and preparation on your part, but I think it is worth it knowing my child is getting the proper amount of nutrients everyday.