It can be challenging to get your family to eat in a healthy way during the school year, but once summer hits and schedules become more complex, it may seem downright impossible. However, it’s actually possible to get your family to eat a healthy meal each day — the trick is to make it exciting.
Here are some ways to ignite the enthusiasm of your family.
Turn Every Meal Into a Culinary Adventure
One of the easiest ways to get your family interested in eating a healthy meal is to turn it into an adventure. The summer, in particular, has a range of different seasonal vegetables available, so use your extra free time to acquire interesting and unusual produce your family may not have tried before. Parsnips, for example, are closely related to kid-favorite carrots and have a wide variety of vitamins that can support heart health, promote growth, and aid digestion. Radishes are delicious cooked or chopped into half moons and thrown into a fresh salad with a citrus vinaigrette. They’re high in antioxidants and fiber, which can aid your immune system.
You can even take veggies and turn them into something kids ask for, like chips. If you slice a yucca root thinly and bake it, you’ll have a stack of tasty yucca chips. Similarly, you can toss some roughly chopped kale with seasonings of your choice and bake it for a short period of time. The kale will then get an unusual crispy texture. When you’re cooking, remember that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring — don’t just boil your broccoli, turn it into a forest for your children!
Enlist Your Family to Experiment with New Flavors
If you are in an experimental mood, another fun thing you can do is to toss five to 10 names of vegetables and ingredients into a hat, along with several of your family’s favorite dishes. Then, have your family draw several ingredients and a dish — the challenge is to rework the dish into something centered around the main ingredient. This creates an air of excitement that may liven things up culinarily in your household.
Once you’ve grabbed your children’s attention, take advantage of their interest by enlisting them to help in the kitchen. This can be an excellent opportunity to teach your children basic knife skills and safety protocols. Lots of recipes perfect for summer involve less work than you might expect — some soups, for instance, are served cold. If your children are involved in the cooking process, they will be much more likely to eat the food they’ve helped create — even if it’s healthy.
Skip the Sugar by Making Your Own Sweet Treats
Summers can get hot, and it can be tempting to have ice cream or other sweet treats on a daily basis. All that sugar can be harmful, though, so try to swap out traditional desserts for treats with lower fat and sugar content. Better yet, freeze some bananas ahead of time, then blend them together with the flavorings and toppings of your choice to make your very own quick and easy banana-based ice cream. The sweetness of the banana is enough to make up for the lack of sugar, while the consistency of the frozen banana, once blended, is very similar to ice cream. You can even put it in a plastic container to store it for later.
Cutting out sugar and replacing it with healthier foods is very good for mental health, helping to reduce stress and boost positive emotions. Both our physical and emotional states can be drastically improved by changing the way we eat, drink, and cope with stress.
The more you use your imagination, the more your family (and particularly your children) will be excited about the food — even if the food itself is healthy. Remember that it may take some children more than 10 tries to start to like a food; however, by getting them to help create the dish, you will have given them a sense of personal investment that makes eating healthy all the more appealing.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
Article by: Dylan Foster