A study showed that sneaking vegetables into your children’s meals reduces their consumption of calorie-dense foods, which is what is contributing to an epidemic in childhood obesity. So, how do we trick our children into eating more such foods? Time for us to turn into con-men (and con-women), which is surprisingly easy to do!
Take into consideration the foods that children seem to love, such as, pizza, pasta/noodles, ice-cream, and substitute the empty calorie ingredients such as all-purpose flour and sugar, etc., with nutrient rich ones such as whole wheat flour and honey. This is the thinking used to develop innovative snacks at Happy Belly like Beet Eat (beetroot chips) and Muscle Hustle (energy bars) found in our weekly snack boxes.
Let us show you how:
1. Children love drinking juice but we lose most of the nutrition in the process and are left with high calorie fructose and low nutrient juice. Here's the perfect chance to turn our child’s drink into a power packed one with smoothies or milkshakes. CLICK HERE and take your pick!
2. Some breakfast favorites are French toasts/waffles/pancakes. The perfect way to ‘healthy’ them up is to use whole wheat bread or flour. This tip can be used for toasts, sandwiches and bakes of all kinds.
3. From savoury soups to sweet treats, a surprising substitute is pumpkin or squash, or as we better know it, kaddu or lauki/ghia/doodhi. Its mild flavour blends in seamlessly with other flavours while adding important vitamins and minerals.
Eg. Sneaky Pumpkin Muffins or Easiest Baked Mac-and-Cheese.
Similarly, pumpkin puree or finely shredded zucchini or squash can be added to many vegetable, rice, pasta or baked dishes.
In the same way, Happy Belly has introduced the much loved Brainy Bunny which is a carrot walnut cupcake. Kids think it’s yummy and mums can rest easy knowing it’s loaded with the goodness of such super foods.
4. Another super healthy vegetable that can be easily incorporated in food is spinach. Chop finely and add to foods at your discretion. The beauty of this vegetable is that it can be eaten raw (as long as it is washed thoroughly!). So chop up and sprinkle away! Add to cheesy scrambled eggs, an omelet or on top of a pizza, in a paratha mixture; you get the idea.
5. Any soup or paratha is an opportunity to hide “good for you” items: feel free to add pureed or chopped veggies. Also, chop vegetables VERY finely. The less the kids have to chew them and recognise that veggie’s texture, the more likely they’ll eat it.
We've taken this idea and given it a new twist with our Fun in a Bun and Pao Wow. Both are whole wheat buns with a stuffing of two delectable combinations of veggies that go down so easily!
6. Indian Chinese is a universal favorite in our country and is loaded with veggies, so when cooking noodles or vegetable rice or even biryani or pasta, feel free to chop up vegetables of your choice and throw them in. Just remember to chop finely or your kids will be pulling things out of their mouths!
7. Substitute meats such as lamb with leaner ones such as chicken or turkey.
8. Ground flaxseed: Flaxseed is very mild, and is loaded with Omega-3s. Grind and sprinkle on food.
9. Healthy Ice-cream: It’s almost shocking how easily we can make a healthy ice-cream at home, and it's absolutely delicious! A few easy ones to get you started with are CLICK HERE.
10. Last but not least, get your children involved! The more they help, the more pride they will have in the food, and the more likely they’ll want to eat it.
The problem is that empty foods are cheaper, more accessible and seemingly more filling. It is not enough to just fill their bellies. Good nutrition is the must-have-ticket to raising children whose brains are functioning at a level that helps them to be creative, honest, productive members of society. Children who eat a good breakfast have better test scores, better behavior, and are less hyperactive than children who skip breakfast.
We, at Happy Belly, have found new and exciting ways to get those veggies into your children’s tummies! So get your kids (and yourselves) a healthy food subscription box and go ahead and indulge guilt free!