This month's Super Kids Video is all about Hacks for Healthy Kids. Here are ten of my (and Sage's!) favorite, simple healthy hacks for kids:
1. PACK IN THE VEG! We all know veggies are important for kids, but not every kid is overjoyed to scarf down a plate of broccoli! Rather than hiding vegetables (which can create a sense of distrust if your kids catch you sneaking in veg), add them into foods you already know they love. A few examples:
- Soup: pack in as many veggies as you can, especially for pureed soups!
- Egg Cups
- Hummus (my Hulk Hummus is a great way to add in more veggies)
- Meatballs (see Sage's Curried Turkey Sweet Potato Meatballs) or Meatloaf Muffins (check out the Supermama Society this month for a new, delicious, veggie-packed meatloaf muffin!)
2. PUT IT IN A SMOOTHIE! Smoothies are a fabulous way to pack in a ton of nutrients in a simple, easy-to-drink package. Our go-to smoothie recipe is the PB+J:
Peanut Butter Jelly Smoothie (makes 1 large smoothie, enough for 2 kids)
1 cup milk of choice
1 handful spinach
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries 1/2 frozen banana (option)
1 scoops vanilla protein powder (we love Kidz Shake)
1-2 tbsp natural peanut butter
3. MAKE SIMPLE SWAPS. Eating healthier doesn't need to be one giant overhaul! Ask: where can I choose a more nutrient-dense option? Ideas: - Mixing in zucchini noodles with spaghetti
- Using Banza or other bean-based pasta
- Choosing Simple Mills or Jovial Foods Crackers
4. MAKE IT HOMEMADE. This doesn't mean EVERYTHING needs to be homemade (ain't no mama got time for that!). But what CAN you easily make homemade to add more nutrients, or reduce processed foods? Examples:
- Meatballs - Chicken Tenders - Bone broth/soup
5. GET THEM INVOLVED. Kids LOVE to help! Bonus: they're more likely to taste the food when they have a hand in making it!
- Chopping (when they are able to)
- Shucking corn or snapping ends of green beans
6. PACK IN THE PROTEIN
Protein is a must for growing kids: it's the building block of every cell of our bodies! It also helps to stabilize blood sugar, keeping kids fuller longer, less 'hangry', focused and moods more stable. READ: What Kids Need
7. HEAP ON THE HEALTHY FAT.
If protein is king, fat is queen! Fat is necessary, not just for growth and energy- but for brain health, too. And NO, fat won't 'make your kids fat'. Healthy fat is essential for brain development. Stick to fat from omega-3 (fish, grass-fed beef, walnuts, flax- just don't cook with walnut/flax oil) or monounsaturated (avocado, olive, chicken) sources, and some saturated (coconut, cheese/milk products) rather than highly processed and inflammatory seed oils (canola, corn, safflower, soy).
READ: What Kids Need
8. IT’S ALL ABOUT VARIETY. Variety is the spice of life-- and the key to balanced nutrition. This doesn't need to be stressful; but make sure to get a variety of nutrients week to week from different vegetables, carbs, meat and fat sources.
9. SERVE FAMILIAR FOODS WITH NEW FOODS. Exposure is SUPER important to helping encourage kids to try new foods. It can take 7-20 exposures for kids to even try a new food- and that's OK! Keep serving it, and try putting it next to a familiar food so it's less daunting.
10. GIVE THEM A CHOICE! Don't forget your kids are little humans, and they like choice too! You don't need to be a short order cook, but when it comes to breakfast and lunch, two choices and a go-to is a great way to provide choice AND structure. (Same thing with dinner: we never force food, this creates a negative association. However, if they don't want dinner- they can always have eggs. If they don't want any food at all, that's fine- except under VERY RARE circumstances, kids WILL eat when their bodies need it).
Questions? Submit them to Ask Kris here!