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Healthy Children-Friendly Food Ideas

Photo credit: The Art of Catering.

Healthy Children-Friendly Food Ideas

By Chef Selwyn Richards
Culinary Specialist

Chef Selwyn RichardsKids are picky eaters. Some, of course, are more finicky than others. In fact, mealtime can become a dreaded battle ground.

Do you have children, who despise anything that doesn’t resemble a chicken finger? Do they turn their nose if it isn’t packed with sugar?

If so, then you have your hands full. Here are a few ideas to help you win the battle and get some vitamins and nutrients into your kid’s diet.

Fun shapes
It doesn’t matter what it is, kids tend to like things that look like fun. Pancakes and sandwiches are easy to shape with cookie cutters. However, you can also make vegetable latkes and shape them.

You can also get creative with vegetables. Imagine building a little log cabin out of celery, with carrots and cheese or peanut butter as an adhesive to bind it all together.

Don’t forget meats. You can cut turkey burgers, chicken breasts and other meat into shapes too. Once your child is accustomed to the flavor you can ease back on the novelty shapes and fun designs.

Let them choose a meal once a week
Giving your children some independence and responsibility may make them more responsive at meal time. Let them choose one meal each week. Get them involved in the preparation too. This way they learn to appreciate what goes into making a meal.

Photo credit: The Art of Catering.

Photo credit: The Art of Catering.

Get sneaky
Add vegetable and fruit purees to their favorites. Brownies, breads and muffins, and even sauces or dips, can be healthy too. For example, add some applesauce, blueberry or peach puree to yogurt and serve with shredded chicken or breads and biscuits.

Most kids love cheese. You can embrace this tasty food as a dip, a sauce or a casserole staple. You can also stuff vegetable or meats with cheese. Yum, a cheese-filled pepper, or chicken breast!

Don’t force the issue
Many parents choose to simply make their meals as they would normally make them. However, they take a less stringent approach. Instead of making kids eat everything, they simply ask the children to “try” everything. Most children are more opposed to how a food looks than how it tastes. When you’re not forcing them to eat they tend to be a lot less rigid with their choices and decisions.

Kids can be tough to please. A little patience and creativity can help you manage their picky appetites and mealtime, successfully. Be patient. Help them learn to appreciate what goes into a meal and how to be healthy. Provide children with a variety and encourage them to try new things, eventually they’ll learn to appreciate new foods.

Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: selwyn@theartofcatering.com or by phone — (905) 619-1059.

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