Hello moms and dads!
Toddlers and young children have a lot of energy. Adding artificial sugar to that is often not the best idea. Adding more vegetables to their diet, however, can help balance their energy level and keep their minds and bodies strong. There are countless nutrients in a variety of veggie combinations.
In general vegetables (especially fresh vegetables) help promote a child’s growth and healthy development.
When buying veggies – try to get in-season vegetables. This is a great way to engage your kids. Take them to the grocery store or farmer’s market with a list of current in-season vegetables and let them help you find them (kinda like a treasure hunt!). When you can’t get what you are looking for in a particular season, frozen vegetables are a great option and can be added to smoothies for a twist and nutrition boost.
While there are many choices, some of the most nutrient / mineral dense, kid friendly (and biggest bang for your buck so to speak) are:
Sweet Potatoes – very vitamin rich, immune boosting and strengthen bones.
Carrots – nutritious, plus – good for eyes, tummy trouble and cleaning your teeth.
Peas – packed with protein, fun to eat mashed, boiled or frozen!
While lots of dips may entice some children to eat veggies, they are often full of unnecessary sugars and additives. Try using hummus, guacamole or applesauce as a dip with carrots, celery, bell peppers and other cut up crunchy veggies.
Another great way to add vegetables as a side or main course to any meal is in muffins. Pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, and even blended spinach or beets make great additions when you are baking muffins.
Modeling healthy eating also encourages kids to eat well. If you eat healthy foods your kids often want to emulate your behavior.
Luckily, when it comes to vegetables there are lots of choices, colors and flavors. Each child can express their personality by choosing the ones they like best. Moms and dads – keep encouraging your child to eat healthy which will help them remain vibrant and happy.
And remember: “You are what you eat!”
– Dr. Kenneth Akey