We are eager to get back to healthier habits and so are the kids. We all feel so much better when we tuck into a leafy green salad or snack on a bowl of fruit before dinner time.
As much as we love pizza and ice-cream, we’ve just been feeling super sluggish lately. And we’re not alone. The kids are noticeably more grumpy and have very little energy so it’s time to encourage them to get their five a day.
Deirdre from The Cool Food School, the home of healthy eating for kids, is here to help with useful tips that every family can follow. Check them out below:
Expose your kids to vegetables in lots of different ways - smoothies, grated into muffins, roasted, raw. Eating vegetables can be tricky if your family is full of picky eaters but fear not. Drinking smoothies is an ideal way to make sure they’re getting plenty of nutrients. Why not whip some up together to get them involved? Great veg for smoothies are carrots, spinach and cucumbers. Even beetroot works well and gives a great colour!
Teach your kids to cook (using the kiddies food kutter and safety food peeler, even kids as young as two-years-old can help out safely in the kitchen) Let them channel their inner Neven Maguire and whip up kid-friendly dishes together. One thing that is super easy to make together is a salad. It doesn’t involve any hot plates or ovens and the kids can experiment with different foods and flavours.
Take food away from the table and make it fun so they can get familiar with it - pea races, food art, tomato squashing and more. Encourage them to feel it, smell it, lick it, listen to it. A child is much more likely to try a food they are familiar with (even through play) rather than one they have never seen or experienced before.
Give your child some control - allow them to choose which vegetable they want. Bring them shopping and let them pick the vegetable for dinner - eg. would you like either carrot or broccoli tonight? Or at home - offer a side of cucumber or tomato with their sandwich. Whatever tickles their fancy! It’s a great way to empower them to make their own choices and expand the food they eat. And if they keep choosing the same veg, then take that one out of the equation for a while and offer two different ones (mammies are so clever).
Model the behaviour you want them to follow at the table - make sure you’re eating vegetables and talk about them in a really positive or even silly way. “Oh, this carrot is the nicest carrot I’ve ever eaten”, ooh and ahh about your broccoli, lick your lips when you’re about to eat some roasted pepper …. this will help encourage them to see vegetables in a positive (and delicious) light!
The Cool Food School is the home of healthy eating for kids. Deirdre, the brains behind the business (from eating all those veg!) is a Health Coach and mum-of-three. She teaches her unique, interactive food workshops to children in preschools and schools and at food, corporate and family events nationwide (like Taste of Dublin, Bloom, Savour Kilkenny, Taste of Donegal and more). More recently, she has brought her workshops online and in particular her Zoom cooking classes which have proved very popular. She is the sole distributor of Kiddies Food Kutter and Safety Food Peeler in Ireland and the UK - thousands of parents have purchased these handy tools not just in Ireland but worldwide to help encourage their children in the kitchen and improve their diets.