March 3, 2012

Guest Post: Give Any Meal a Nutritional Boost

Everyone meet Kristin. She's a recent graduate from the University of Georgia, a health nut, and a writer on a new health-centered blog called Musings of a Curious Mind. She's here to share some great ideas for increasing the nutrition factor in our kids' favorite meals. Thanks, Kristin, for your contribution!

A well-balanced diet is essential to good health, especially during childhood when so many physical changes are taking place. However, many mothers find it difficult to get their kids to eat healthier foods. Making just a few easy changes will give any meal a nutritional boost and satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

Adding fruit to breakfast cereal can bump up its nutritional value. Topping healthy, whole grain cereals with fruit your child likes will add a touch of sweetness without loads of sugar. Bananas, blueberries, and strawberries are some of my favorites to add. Allow your child to make a smiley face on top of his oatmeal. Place raisins for eyes, apple slices for a mouth, and a slice of banana for the nose.

If your child likes to have something sweet after dinner, serve frozen fruit kabobs. Your child can make his own fruit kabob using pineapple chunks, grapes, kiwi, and different types of berries. Yogurt makes a healthy dip for fruit kabobs, as well. Placing fruit such as strawberries or blueberries in pancake or waffle mix is a healthy way to boost the fiber content in your child's breakfast. Fruit juice also makes excellent homemade popsicles. Squeeze and freeze your own fruit juice in an ice tray for easy popsicles kids of all ages will enjoy. Fruit juice could also be used as an after-workout smoothie for the parents. Adding some protein powder and yogurt to the juice makes a delicious and filling snack.

Many kids won't eat vegetables if they can see them, so hiding them in recipes is often the way to go. Grate carrots finely and add to spaghetti sauce for added nutrition. You can grate extra vegetables into soups and other sauces, as well. Another way to disguise vegetables is to grate them into muffins or bread. Add carrots to muffin mixes and grate zucchini into bread mixes before baking for a healthy treat kids will love. If your child loves pizza, use different vegetables as toppings when you make it at home. Also, preparing the crust out of cauliflower boosts the nutritional worth tremendously. And remember, kids will often eat foods more readily when they are involved during the preparation. 

Adding fruits and vegetables to foods your child likes is the best way to increase the nutritional value of their favorite foods. In fact, many of these tactics and substitutions are recommended by the American Cancer Society to boost the immune systems of patients. Getting kids to eat healthy from the beginning can give them a lifetime of better health, which can be a load off a parent's shoulders.

Kristin Wells holds a degree
in creative writing from the
University of Georgia and is
an aspiring writer. She wants
to make a difference in
people's lives through 
her writing. She also enjoys 
competitive cycling, running, 
and traveling as much as possible.

For more tips on healthy eating habits for kids check out my recent post The Well-Fed Baby Project if you missed it a couple of weeks ago.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post Emily! I love the suggestions for hiding the veggies...I'm thinking of trying meatballs with grated carrots and zucchini :)

    By the way, I tagged you in my most recent blog post...NOT spam :)


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