Parents ask “Should we make a separate meal for the kids?” Many households and restaurants create special kids meals to keep kids from whining during dinner. However, these processed meals are filled with too much fat, salt, sugar, and chemicals. It certainly is not fun to listen to a toddler having a tantrum about a meal the parent has prepared for them. When kids make faces and spit out the food, it causes everyone around them to lose their appetite. Often the parent makes just what the child wants to keep peace at the table. There is a difference between complaining about a dish and genuinely disliking a flavor or texture of a certain food. Sometimes the child is in the mood to complain, even about a food they liked the day before.
Eating fruits and vegetables is the number one habit for healthy living and is the most delicious when they are fresh, local, organic, and in season. Fresh organic veggies lightly steamed and added to pasta or rice are more delicious than overcooked, canned, or processed frozen veggies sitting alone on the side of the plate. Parents can be the example for their kids to follow, when they savor every bite of their meal. Teaching kids about healthy eating is as important as kids doing their school work. Make it fun with taste tests to discover the difference between salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. Art projects with food, like making beet or potato stamps and herb leaf prints, can lead to making a soup with beets, potatoes, and herbs for dinner. As kids’ tastebuds change, the foods they once disliked, can become their new favorite snack.
Get kids involved in the planting, growing, and cooking process! Kids that are invested in the outcome can hardly wait to eat the meal they have helped produce. Kids can prepare a Tea Party in the backyard by choosing a rainbow of organic raw veggies and helping to make several dips, then choosing which veggie tastes best with which dip. Kids enjoy going to a local U-pick farm or the Farmer’s Market and meeting the farmers who often give them a taste of their produce. Kids get so excited growing their own organic backyard garden that they eat fresh fruits and veggies while standing in the garden!