Mother of two Terry Walters is the author of "Clean Start," a how-to book for jump-starting healthy eating in your home. The book includes seasonable recipes and simple, insightful advice for getting your family to eat "clean". Terry shares with momlogic her top ten tips for incorporating clean food into your family's diet ....
Guest blogger Terry Walters: Encouraging kids to be more adventurous eaters can be a struggle, particularly when it comes to eating vegetables. By setting just a couple of healthy guidelines, you can make dinnertime a fun adventure for the whole family!
1) Eat all the colors of the rainbow. Turn it into a game: See who can eat the most colorful diet (Fruit Loops don't count!) and the most foods that come from a plant (the green kind, not the manufacturing kind). Everyone will benefit from becoming more aware of which foods provide good nutritional value.
2) Make meal preparation and mealtime fun. As soon as children realize you have an agenda, they'll be on to you -- and will be more likely to resist change. Forget about the end result and focus on making meals fun and educational each day. Get everyone involved in menu planning and cooking.
3) Shop together. Whether you're headed to the farmer's market or the grocery store, let your children be your guide through the produce section. Have them pick the vegetables they're willing to try -- the sky's the limit, as long as your basket reflects that rainbow of color!
4) Join a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) group. Purchasing a share of a local farm's harvest is a great way to discover new foods, enjoy seasonal fresh produce that's fresh and delicious, connect with the source of your food and support your local farmer.
5) Reduce temptation. Bring home healthy foods and leave the indulgences behind. Make the hard choices once at the grocery store, so you aren't faced with making them every time you open your cupboard. Don't worry: You'll always find an opportunity for a treat!
6) Serve meals family-style. Let kids serve themselves. Resisting the large predetermined serving -- and the expectation that comes with it -- is understandable. Even if kids take only a one-bite serving of something, they'll be more likely to eat it and return for more if they're in control of their own choices.
7) Wrap it up! Trying new veggies can be fun when you serve them in a fun vehicle. Tacos, burritos, summer-roll wrappers ... are all creative ways to make mealtime simple, fun and nutritious. Put everything out on the table and let kids make their own concoctions. You'd be surprised what veggies children will try when they're wrapped up with a little bit of pesto, hummus, peanut sauce, salsa or guacamole!
8) Incorporate new vegetables into the foods they already love. Adding one new vegetable to a soup, lasagna or salad is a great way to introduce new tastes in a manner that is not overwhelming. Adding a little kale to your usual spinach lasagna, grating some broccoli stems and stirring them into your coleslaw or chopping up some bok choy and tossing it in with your salad greens can yield nutritious and delicious results!
9) Plant a family garden. Gardens teach kids firsthand about clean food that's minimally processed and has maximum nutrition. From selecting and planting the seeds to watering, weeding and eventually harvesting, gardening tasks make us invested and connected to our food -- and kids are more likely to at least taste something when it's the fruit of their labor!
10) Serve up a healthy doses of nourishment each day. Do the best you can to make good choices for yourself and your family. And don't forget the non-food-based types of nourishment: laughter, music, dance, adventure and love!
In the end, your children will learn much more about healthy eating from watching what you do than from listening to what you say, so model the choices you'd like them to make. Keep an abundance of healthy food in the house so there aren't a lot of unhealthy traps and temptations. Make meals fun, honor kids' likes and dislikes and involve them in the process. That way, they'll learn about good nutrition and be empowered to make healthy choices!
For more "clean" food tips, check out Terry's book, "Clean Start," at TerryWalters.net.