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It happens with every kid: One minute, they’re happy as a clam to eat a plateful of veggies, then suddenly, they reject it. Most kids have a picky eating stage, which can make well-rounded nutrition difficult. Wondering how to get kids to eat healthy foods? Prince Lionheart is here to help with tips to get easy, healthy snacks into your little ones’ bellies. Bravery is inside us all®… which means kids really can try (and enjoy!) new, healthy foods.
Everyone wants to make their own choices, so it’s hard to blame kids for wanting the same thing! Of course, kids can be especially insistent when it comes to what they want. We can tell you from experience: kids are more likely to dig in their heels and refuse something when they feel like they have no other option. Giving kids a choice of easy, healthy snacks whenever possible allows them to have the autonomy they crave, yet still allows you some control over what they eat. You can even pack up different options for the day in the Bentomal® To-Go and let kids choose one of the cute containers for each snack they’ll be eating throughout the day. For healthy snack ideas for toddlers, try offering:
You’ll choose the food options, but they’ll choose what and how much to put on their plate. For instance, on taco night, put all the fillings on the table. Kids choose from those offerings to make their tacos the way they want them. This might mean that your toddler makes tacos containing nothing but sour cream and black beans. And guess what—that’s just fine! Because tomorrow, they might choose only tomatoes and guacamole, or lettuce and meat. Kids can be fickle creatures. Allowing them to experiment makes them more willing to eat a wider variety of foods. Healthy snacks for toddlers work similarly. Offer a tray of sliced cheese, lunch meat, and fruits and veggies. They may only choose cheese or fruit sometimes, but if the alternatives are available, chances are they’ll try them. Make putting together a plate even more fun with creATE™ Plate by drawing a requested figure on the dry erase insert. Let kids fill in the details by putting their food on top of the picture. They might not be excited about the veggie-filled stir fry at first, but if it becomes a spooky, green alien? Now that’s good, healthy fun.
Trying new things can be scary, and for toddlers with developing palates, healthy snacks for kids can be intimidating! Make it fun by instituting a family practice of always trying an “adventure bite.” That way, no one can claim they hate something without ever trying it. This practice allows kids to try new things, even when they’re nervous about it. Half the time, kids will discover that those frightening new foods are actually really delicious.
Kids watch their grownups closely. It’s no surprise that it’s hard to get your kids to do something when you don’t do it yourself. If you want your toddler to eat a wide variety of foods, you should eat a wide variety of foods, too. Show your little ones how much you love that beet salad or how excited you are to try the greens you chose at the market. If they see you enjoying something, they might even ask for a bite.
This is a good rule of thumb no matter what, and it also applies to healthy food for kids. It can be tempting to express disgust when kids want to dip their tofu in strawberry jelly, or wrap a seaweed snack around their apple slice. Resist the urge! Even if it’s not your cup of tea, the more adventurous your kids are with different flavors, the better. And even if the flavor combination seems weird to you, if they’re eating healthy snacks for kids, it’s a win!
Back to kids’ tendency to be headstrong. If they feel like you’re bossing them around with what and how much to eat, they’re likely to assert their independence by refusing whatever you insist on. Remember: you provide healthy food options, and your kid decides what and how much to eat. (And chances are, over the course of the week, they’re going to cover all their nutritional bases anyway.)
Palates change over time. Plus, little ones might need to try easy, healthy snacks multiple times before being able to decide if they like it or not. (Think about when you first tried coffee.) The creATE™ Plate can help encourage kids to keep trying new foods. Try drawing fun pictures on the dry erase insert that slots in under the clear-bottom plate and then place the food on top as part of the picture. Broccoli becomes an enchanted forest, bell peppers become a colorful bouquet, or a dump truck can deliver just about anything. Teach kids that trying new foods is fun. Explain to them that their taste buds grow with them, which is why adventure bites are so important!
Need healthy snack ideas for toddlers? They’re more likely to eat foods they’ve been able to choose or prepare. If you can plant and grow fresh fruits and vegetables together? Even better. Let your kids choose a couple of items in the produce section while grocery shopping, and then try cooking them with your kids. Sure, it takes more time and effort to include your kids in the choosing and preparation of food, but if it gets them to eat healthy snacks for kids, it’s all worth it.
Food can be fun, and if you make it joyful, kids are more willing to eat the green stuff. Try giving veggies nicknames like “dino greens” for leafy greens, or making little faces on homemade pizzas with mushrooms and bell pepper slices. Create “make your own” healthy food for kids. Make it even more fun by packing DIY salad fixings or ingredients for fruit kebabs in fun containers like the Bentomal® To-Go. Let kids enjoy the process of making and eating food. They’re less likely to fight about eating healthy snacks for kids.
You might be surprised by how many places you can incorporate veggies. Frozen spinach works well in smoothies, and zucchini bread is a delicious veggie-filled breakfast. Kids want cake? Make a carrot cake! Throw bell peppers or poblanos into your chili. You don’t have to be sneaky about healthy snacks for kids—and half the time, kids won’t even notice that they’re eating their veggies.