The summer days of s’mores, endless barbeques and ice cream cones are quickly fading as autumn ushers in back-to-school as well as intentions for setting good habits for the year ahead. This time of year tends to mean a return to less-frivolous eating and a renewed focus on better nutrition all around.Even with an apple in every lunch box, a surprising amount of children aren’t hitting their daily requirements for fruit and vegetable consumption! In the last major Canadian Nutrition Survey, 7 out of 10 children aged 4 to 8 were reported as consuming less than five servings of vegetables and fruit a day, and at ages 9 to 13, 62% of girls and 68% of boys did not meet the minimum.1
Sometimes it is simply a matter of the notorious picky-eating, and sometimes it comes down to hectic schedules. Either way: kid’s nutrition plays a big role in their physical and mental well-being!
Eating well is about more than full tummies! In fact, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has identified “clear links between nutrition and academic performance… [and] studies show that students who maintain a healthy diet have improved memory, problem solving skills, and creative abilities. In particular, reducing nutritional deficiency and food insufficiency among students holds promise for improving academic outcomes.”2
Here are some ways to serve healthy foods with more fun, and less fight!
Hide and seek!
Incorporate vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and fermented foods into soups, sandwiches, smoothies, omelets or sandwiches! This tactic means that healthy foods your little ones would usually turn their nose up at can be incorporated secretly (or not so secretly) into some of their favourite foods. A little stealth goes a long way!
Get them involved.
Kids of all ages are very capable of helping out with shopping, cooking and even gardening. Getting them involved in the process of choosing, growing and creating food peaks their interest, fosters a connection between them and their food and teaches them valuable information and skills about supply and meal preparation.
Adding another taste elements also gets kids to participate in the experience of foods. Colorful, healthful dips both sweet and savoury, dress up food, allow them to give kids some control over their meal or snack time – plus the delicious & nutritious possibilities are endless! Think beyond the ketchup.
Variety is the spice of life!
Mix it up. If they don’t like mashed sweet potato – try baked sweet potato fries. If scrambled eggs aren’t their jam, maybe egg-in-the-hole will appeal. Sometimes a food aversion can do with presentation or texture – help them understand that foods can come in different shapes, with a different flavor before they rule it out as a “no thank-you”.
Make Super-Concentrated Nutrition easy, colourful and fun!
Who says getting kids to eat healthy can’t be fun, fast and easy! greens+ kids and Barlean’s Superfruit Greens taste delicious and are versatile too as they easily mix into yogurt, smoothies and popsicles, with no blender required!
These all-natural formula contain organic fruits and veggies from the whole rainbow; providing valuable nutrients and superior antioxidants, with no added sugar, artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
Not only that, they are enhanced with proven brain-boosting phosphatidyl choline, include bacterial cultures for immune and gastrointestinal health, and boasts an ORAC score (antioxidant ability) equivalent to 3 servings of fruit and vegetables!
To ensure your kids get the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong, just one serving of greens daily is all that it takes – naturally.
Finally – lead the way!
You’re the gatekeeper to how your children view healthful eating habits. Set an example through personal habits, avoid using unhealthy treats as rewards and avoid bringing “bad” foods into the house.
There is certainly a time to celebrate events or just life with a spoonful of sugar, but making healthy food an engaging, fun part of everyday sets children up for a positive attitude towards a lifetime of healthy eating.
1Statistics Canada 2004
2 Heart and Stroke Foundation Schools and Nutrition Facts