I don’t have kids. Nope. BUTTTT I know some of you do and I do get asked quite regularly, even though I don’t have kids, how to get them to eat healthy raw food.
So what does a hot mamma with a raw food blog (that’s me by the way) go do? Well, I consult the experts on raw food and children of course…
Enter Ros, Lisa, Angel and Jenni. Very VERY hot raw food mummies with awesome kiddy winkles…does anyone say that anymore?
So here for your viewing delight is top tips on how to get your kids to eat a bit healthier without strops and turmoil and craziness.
For younger kiddies
Start giving your kids good healthy food as soon as they’re onto solids (for a start!) , nothing better than a chunk of cold watermelon for sore teething gums!
Make food into faces or animals to make it look fun to eat, even grown ups like pretty presentation.
Give a little bowl with something nice to dip (hummus, guacamole, cashew herby dip), and sticks of carrot, cucumber, pepper, lettuce cups to get them to eat lots of raw fresh veg. Or a choccie, or carob or blended strawberry dip with chunks of fruit for dipping to encourage them to eat fruit, or make it into fruit kebabs. Sometimes I make up fruit kebabs with raw choccie brownie on too
Get kids involved in making and growing food to encourage them to eat it, even just sprouts on the window sill if you don’t have a garden. Kids are way more likely to eat stuff they’ve been involved in creating.
Make a ‘monkey platter’. My little girl’s favourite meals are a big plate to share of lots of little things – baby tomatoes (her favourite), chopped cucumber, kale chips, chopped fruit, avocado, flax crackers spread with nut butter. And if you’re not 100% raw, chopped cheese, hummus, wholemeal or spelt bread pieces spread with fruit spread, soft cheese, nut butter etc.
My daughter eats way more if she has the decision to choose what she wants to eat.
Anything that tastes chocolatey is always a winner with kids! I make a protein cake for my daughter that includes tahini (good for calcium and protein), ground nuts, and hemp powder , all flavoured with carob or cacao. She loves it and I know she’s getting a good dose of omega oils, calcium and protein.
If your kids are older, put some raw stuff on the plate with things they like and no pressure to eat it. Kids often need to be presented with a food 15-20 times before they’ll even try it, let alone like it. So don’t get annoyed, just keep offering. As long as you are offering good healthy choices they can choose what they want to eat and you can feel satisfied they’re eating a good diet. I’d definitely say that if you can start them young its going to be easier. That’s until they get to school and react to peer pressure (*rolls eyes*).
Fruit smoothies with some sneaky kale or courgette is a good one cos it doesn’t taste of much, add some carob or cacao and you can pretty much sneak anything in there!
Make the kids fave smoothie and freeze it into lolly moulds for healthy ice lollies. For another ice cream pudding, you can’t beat the frozen banana classic, add other fruits like frozen berries, and a splash of water and vanilla, or carob and honey and tahini for a creamy chocolately ice cream.
Joshua, who is 2 in October, is much easier to convince then Maya who is older and used to eating the usual food.
They both eat mostly cooked and I try and add nori sprinkles to everything and some ground horsetail, kelp…anything I can get in there!
If I cook pasta for Maya its always spelt pasta.
They do love my raw chocolate, cakes and dehydrated seeds and crisps etc.
You definitely have to keep on trying with them and set a good example. Being firm is a must as they will eat anything you allow them to!
For older children
It’s a bit harder with older kids I think as they are very influenced by parents who may have differing views and especially their peers.
My kids tended to eat healthy raw food that resembles things you can get commercially, fruit, salads, smoothies, ice creams etc. I always put a bowl of whatever I’m having on the table for them to help themselves, and leave space on their plates for them to do so.
I also leave stuff around for them to try rather than suggesting they try it, as that would get a resounding ‘No!’
As they are older (11 and 16), they have asked questions about why I don’t eat certain things, I find that a clear and honest answer often makes them think twice about eating some things. I guess kids very often eat without thinking about where their food comes from, so a little education helps, but only when they ask. Preaching wouldn’t work.
Getting the kids involved makes ALL the difference. To me that’s the key to getting your kids to eat healthier.
Darah has a major interest in her food. I take her shopping and she chooses the items.
Here are five more tips to get you started:
Before dinner (when they’re hungry), serve an appetiser of colorful vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, and red bell peppers, along with a hummus.
Tell your child s/he can say no to a food after they have taken one bite of it.
Make up new names for foods. Instead of carrots try superhero sticks! Kids love that shit right?
Get your kids involved in the cooking/uncooking. If they’re physically involved they’re more engaged with what they’re eating.
Sneak food in. It’s so easy to do. I do it with the husband. Hide superfoods/veggies or pureed ingredients. Easy and a bit evil. Awesome!
You might find this book interesting too, it’s Shazzie’s book on raising a child on a high-raw food diet. (clickity click the linkety link). I actually have this book and LOVE the recipes in it. Does that make me a big kid? HELL YEAH!
So what do you think? Do you have any tips you can share? Write them in the comments below!
This blog was written by Raw Food Scotland's previous owner, Emma Calvert. You can reach her at her new website, https://missmanifestation.com/