Making healthy choices is usually not a top priority for children ( or some adults either). People who refuse to see the faults of the white stuff really shit me but it’s their health, eh? And by white stuff, I mean refined foods like white flour, pasta, bread, rice and sugar.
I do try to eat less sugar but that doesn’t mean I never have it or the other whiteys (and sometimes that shits me but nobody’s perfect). Thankfully, I raised my son on wholemeal bread so when he gets white bread he knows it’s a “treat”, kind of like a chocolate bar. He also readily eats brown rice, wholemeal baking and pasta sauce with vegetables. But aside from the bread, he didn’t always accept the healthier options (wholemeal or vegetables either). At first, I had to be a bit sneaky about it. My advice is to ease into a change and don’t ban the white stuff for good. I used to think moderation was unachievable but my choices seem to sway towards that notion these days.
Here are my top 5 ways to trick kids and fussy eaters into eating more healthy foods
When baking from scratch, use 1/2 white flour and 1/2 wholemeal flour. This is virtually undetectable in goods like pancakes, muffins, bread and some cakes. Then further down the road, you could do 1/4 white to 3/4 wholemeal until you feel you could go 100% wholemeal. I don’t recommend using all wholemeal for chocolate based recipes though. It’s just not as nice and too mealy.
2. Fine chop it
Vegetables can be whizzed super fine to be hidden in pasta sauce and nobody will be the wiser. Try it in a mini-chopper or food processor. Once that goes well for a week or 2, try chopping the veggies very finely until the kids graduate to bigger chucks. Extra Tip: Cook well so the chucks are super soft.
3. Just a hand full of green
I don’t know any kids who don’t like a berry banana smoothie. Greens like spinach and kale can easily be hidden in a smoothie that is colourful and rich in berry flavours. Start with a few leaves then work your way up to a handful.
4. The old switcheroo
Just like the flour options above, you can do the same with sugar. In some recipes, especially where only a little sugar is required (like pancakes or scones) just get rid of the white sugar and swap it for coconut or rapadura sugar (or a less refined sugar of your choice). Sweet is sweet and most people can’t tell the difference. Some light coloured cakes such as lemon tea cake, lemon loaf or butter cake will not survive this method though. Let’s face it, some recipes are only palatable with white caster sugar. Sorry but it’s true.
5. Brown is best
Brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice, we all know that. It is less refined than white rice, offers more fibre and stabilises blood sugar better. Check out this post by Veg Kitchen with Nava Atlas for more benefits.
If you want to get the kids to make the change to brown rice, try using it in a the egg fried variety. Here’s my very simple recipe.
My Easy-As Brown Egg Fried Rice
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 clove of garlic finely minced
a splash of sesame and/or rice bran oil
2 free-range eggs
organic tamari or low-salt soya sauce
frozen peas (if tolerable)
1/2 tsp of Chinese 5-spice (optional)
Then do this:
Heat the oil in a deep pan. Add garlic and spice
Stir-fry 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn it (easy to do)
Add the rice and fry for several minutes
Make a well in the rice and crack both eggs in the hole. Quickly scramble the eggs in the well then incorporate through the rice. Add the peas if using and stir-fry until heated through. Add tamari or soya sauce to taste. Serves 2.
What have you done to get your family to eat better?