Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Image result for fruit pops

"My children are the reason I laugh, smile and want to get up every morning."  
                                                                          --Gena Lee Nolin

Lately, more parents than usual have been asking for ideas feeding their kids good food.  The conversation usually starts like this:  “My 2 year old is a picky eater,” or “My kid will only eat white food,” or “The kids won’t eat any vegetables”.

If you suspect there is a food allergy or a medical issue, ALWAYS start with a call to your pediatrician.  Once these issues are off the table, then start simply with the basics.  All kids need protein, carbs, and fats every day, just like adults do.  Almost all kids go through the “picky eater” stage.  Many don’t like foods touching each other.  Some kids go through color stages or texture stages (only white foods like potatoes and milk or only crunchy or smooth foods).  Since kids don’t come with an instruction manual, it’s a wonder any of us survive childhood!

My recommendation is that kids be encouraged - and allowed - to play with their food.  Look at how much fun kids have on their first birthday in their high chairs wearing only a diaper and a bib with their first baby chocolate cake to do whatever they want!  

Here are some ideas to get going with good foods for your little ones:
  • Steam vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash are all great choices).  Place veggies on a plate, give the kids a fork and show them how to mash them up. 
  • Make a vegetable-bean soup and put it in the blender for a “protein soup”.  Let kids grate parmesan cheese on top of the soup. 
  • Make grilled cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread and cut them into shapes with a cookie cutter. 
  • Make fruit smoothies with your kids using greek yogurt, frozen bananas, strawberries, and a little kale or cucumber.  If you have any left over smoothies, pour into an ice cube tray or small plastic cups, put popsicle sticks in each one, place in the freezer and make pops for the next day.  If not used within 24 hours, place in a ziplock freezer bag to protect the flavors.  
  • Cook quinoa pasta (a complete protein) and let the kids add a little olive oil (the good kind of fat) and some grated parmesan cheese. 
  • Get a box grater and give them a couple of vegetables such as zucchini and rainbow carrots to grate next time you are cooking rotini pasta.  Let the kids decide which vegetable to mix with the cooked rotini. Add olive oil and toss.  
  • Cut up an organic carrot and place in a small kid-proof bowl with some homemade hummus (store-bought hummus has preservatives which can upset little tummies).

It’s simple.  Food=life.  Good food=healthy kids.  Healthy kids=happy kids. 
Healthy, happy kids=healthy, happy parents.  

In gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids