Another busy day whooshes past. You riffle through the fridge frantically wondering what you can cook for dinner. Sausage and mash. It’s not “super healthy” but at least the kids will eat it. You shove those guilty thoughts of teaching your kids about healthy eating into a far corner of your mind.
But I have a sneaky trick. A secret weapon that will help you turn your regular “not so healthy dinner” in to a healthy meal for kids.
“What’s for dinner?” My husband asks.
“Sausage and mash.” I reply. “You’re cooking. I have to pop into town with the kids.”
My husband and I both agree that sausage and mash is a “treat” dinner. It’s not one of my healthy vegetable laden dinners that I normally serve.
We both agree that eating lots of red meat is not great for you as it increases your risk of bowel cancer, but enjoying red meat from time to tome is fine.
But this is where we part opinion.
He is of the opinion that if you are going to have sausage and mash for dinner, you should go all out and enjoy your carnivore feast like a velociraptor. Left to his own devices, he’d forget about anything green and leafy.
“Why bother? They aren’t going to eat it anyway?” He argues. By “they” he means our vegetable resistant children.
Offer Your Kids Vegetables Even if They Won’t Touch Them
Occasionally, my husband even reads my blog and he know exactly why it’s worth offering healthy foods that your kids aren’t going to touch. Old habits die hard.
I understand. It’s difficult to change your way of thinking. Even when you “agree” you slip into those familiar old clothes of not giving your kids vegetables that you know they won’t eat.
I point out that lots of vegetables will make it a more balanced meal. More vegetables will turn a regular meal into a more healthy meal.
I trundle into town to buy birthday presents with the children, avoiding the tempting ice cream shop.
So when I return home, I’m rather surprise to find a bowl of green beans sitting on the side. A rather small bowl of green beans. Not a vast “this is half of your diet” type of bowl.
“Hmm!” I think. “That’s enough for me but what are the rest of you going to eat?”
The kids are as ever ravenous. As the sausage isn’t quite ready, I use the opportunity to offer some healthy vegetables. OK, you got me, I might also have wanted to prove a point, she whispers in a quiet little voice.
Magic Your Regular Meal into a Healthy Meal
- Offer vegetables at the start of a meal. An entree. Use that time when your kids are ravenous. They’re so hungry they would eat…a “yellow bucket, a ship’s bell or a giant slug” Or possibly even a piece of bean.
- Cut up some salad things. Vegetables on the side don’t have to be cooked. Realising that the green beans weren’t going to go far, I chopped up 6 tomatoes. By the end of the meal they were all gone.
- Add a little olive oil. I love any vegetables cooked or raw, as they are, with no adornment but a dash of good quality olive oil can give them an amazing lift. It can transform them into a “dish”. Chopped tomatoes become “Mediterranean Tomato Salad”. Yes, really, it’s as easy as that.
- If in doubt, do too many vegetables. In fairness to my husband, he had looked at the beans and thought “ I can either do all of these, or half of them and save some for another day.” If in doubt, err on the side of too much. They may get eaten which is great, but if not, you can serve them cold the next day for lunch, or another entree. Or turn them into a hot lunch. Nothing in my house EVER goes to waste!
- By the same account, offer more types of vegetables. If your kids don’t want to eat one, they may eat the other. If you offer peas and they don’t want to eat peas, they haven’t eaten any vegetables. If you offer carrots, peas and broccoli, they may only eat a piece of broccoli but that’s one up on nothing.
Add More Vegetables.
In short, the easy way to turn a regular meal into a healthy meal is simple.
Just add lots of vegetables.
The kids are sitting around the table. They are hungry and impatient for their sausages. I place the beans, the tomatoes and some cucumber on the table. They dive in, munching a bean, crunching a cucumber. Galen even eats some raw tomatoes that he wouldn’t have touched 6 months ago.
At least 3 of them are using their fingers instead of cutlery and their bottoms are not stuck firmly on their chairs. Celeste is practically dancing on hers.
I sigh. My children’s table manners are far from perfect, I doubt the Queen is ever going to want to come to tea. At least they are learning healthy eating habits and I did prove my husband wrong about those beans.
Free Healthy Eating for Children Video Course
If you’d like to know more about how to help your children eat a healthy diet, you can sign up for my free video course. It’s a series of really short videos that are sent to you over a few days. Little bite size tips that you can start to implement straight away. You need to put your email in to sign up, and after the course, I’ll continue to keep in touch with my weekly newsletter. You can unsubscribe whenever you like.