When it comes to mealtime, is major bribery needed to get your children to eat whole-wheat pasta, nuts or vegetables? With a little bit of planning and persistence, it is certainly possible to get your kids to enjoy these foods. And bonus – consuming grains, nuts and vegetables will help to keep childhood obesity at bay.
Obesity is clearly on the rise, with our children’s weight having more than tripled in the last 30 years. In a new study, it was found that 17 percent of the boys and 20 percent of the girls were overweight. When it comes to reducing this risk of obesity, increasing the amount of plant based foods in the diet (high fiber, low fat) may be more beneficial than nutrient rich dairy products (which are also high in fat).
Here are some ideas to get you started on increasing grains, nuts and vegetables in your child’s diet:
- Incorporate vegetables and nuts into every meal and snack; once a day isn’t enough. Carry them around in your purse and car so you always have a healthy treat handy.
- Sneak vegetables into food through purees, sauces, soups and juices. Often kids may say they don’t like a certain vegetable, but they won’t even notice it if you slyly cook it into their food. There are many cookbooks out there that will give you ideas on how to do this.
- Set aside vegetarian days of the week.
- Brown bag your child’s school lunch. If they are going to buy lunch, urge the school cafeteria to provide a healthy selection of lunch options and reward your kids for making good choices.
- Cooking shows on the Food Network have become very popular lately. Check out their quick and easy kid-friendly recipes that you can try at home.
Let’s face it, children are not likely to just open the refrigerator and pull out some vegetables for a snack. But as parents, we can seamlessly start to integrate more of these low fat/high fiber snacks into their everyday routine by just being a little more creative in our approach.