making fun food for kids

Hi readers!  My name is Meg and I blog over at Happy Kids, Inc.  I also own a wedding business (Wedding Belle Favors), and that’s how I have gotten to cross paths with the lovely Chandra. We’ve gotten to know each other mainly through Twitter and Instagram, as our wedding and mama worlds have overlapped.  When Chandra came to me with her idea about a weekly Mom-themed blog post, I knew I would want to participate.

One thing that I know Chandra, myself, and many of you moms out there struggle with is feeding our children.  I have always been a stickler for feeding my children fresh fruits and vegetables everyday, avoiding processed foods, keeping fast food or dinners out as a “treat”, and cooking from scratch almost exclusively (I do admit to the weekly pizza night on Friday!).  

My kids overall are pretty good when it comes to eating healthy; I can’t complain too much there. But I know for some of you that is not the case.  Furthermore, kids go through phases; what they love one month, they despise the next.  So how do we as moms navigate this?  This was the main reason I started my kids blog, to share with other parents what has worked for me, recipes my kids love, and more.  I’d like to share a few of those tips today, as well as a recipe for a smoothie at the end.

1.  Make fruits and vegetables part of every meal.  Even I struggle with this one!  But if you start making it happen with every meal, your kids will see the importance of them in their diet.  Many meals, your children will turn them away or spit them out.  I urge you to not give up! It’s true, sometimes it takes a few, sometimes several, attempts before the realize if they like it. This takes some planning, too.  If you are headed out to the zoo or other excursion, be sure to pack lunch and snack; don’t rely on what the cafeteria has to offer.

2.  Make food fun.  I always try to present my food in a fun way so my children don’t get bored, but also see that food is fun.  I guarantee if you put food on a stick, it is immediately fun!  Stack a skewer full of bananas, strawberries, and grapes.  Offer hummus with carrot sticks or cucumber sticks and use mini cookies cutters to “mold” the hummus into a fun shape on their plate (I do that trick with rice, too).

making fun food for kids

3.  Sneak fruits and vegetables in.  Sometimes it takes a pretty major overhaul of a child’s taste buds to take a liking to fruits and vegetables if they’ve previously eaten a lot of juice, processed food, or not many fruits and vegetables.  This is where sneaking them into food becomes important.  It will gradually start to change their food preferences.  Some of the easiest dishes to sneak fruits and veggies into are: smoothies, muffins, cookies, macaroni and cheese (homemade), enchiladas/tacos, and pancakes (again, homemade). For example, when I make black bean enchiladas, I swirl the beans in a food processor and add cooked squash, cooked spinach, and/or avocado.  If you’re interested in some specific recipes, be sure to visit my recipe archive on my blog.

On that note, I will end with a Simple Strawberry Smoothie recipe that is sure to please (if your child really doesn’t like strawberries, you can try blueberries or raspberries).  This recipe is perfect to drink, or buy popsicle molds to freeze them.  If you are new to adding veggies to smoothies, maybe try a little less than the recipe calls for at first and gradually add more with each smoothie.  What I love about smoothies is that your children can get SO MUCH nutrition from one snack:  calcium, fiber, omega 3’s, the list goes on.

I would love to hear your successes and feedback on this post if you do end up trying some of this with your children.  Be sure to leave a comment!  I also love to network with fellow mamas, so be sure to track me down on social media, too.

Simple Strawberry Smoothie
(makes 1-2 servings)
1 cup strawberries
1 cup milk of your choice (I like almond milk or coconut milk, or a mix of the 2)
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup fresh spinach
1/2 banana
1/4 cup plain or strawberry yogurt of your choice
1/2 tbl. chia seeds or flax seeds
Scoop of fresh avocado
1 tbl. maple syrup, honey, or preferred sweetener

Blend all ingredients well in a blender.  If you like your smoothies a little extra thick, you can add some ice cubes. But my kids prefer these as is.

{photo credits} ice tray snacks via Jennifer Bishop Design / mickey food via party city / smoothie photo from Happy Kids, Inc.