Many of the top foods that children don't like, such as broccoli, fish and cottage cheese, are healthy and good for their development. But sometimes it can feel like an endless tug-of-war getting kids to eat food which they hate, especially when you can't monitor their eating habits during school lunches. Instead of trying to force-feed them their least favorite foods, use simple and creative techniques to sneak these healthy items into everyday dishes.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, artichokes, green beans, spinach, kale and green peppers are among the top vegetables kids do not like to eat. These vegetables also happen to be rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, which is a strong antioxidant, fiber and protein, a foundational building block for healthy development. Steam these vegetables and blend them in a food processor or regular blender. Add the pureed vegetables to your kids' favorite pasta sauce, which helps hide the vegetable taste and ensures your kids get the proper nutrients. Grate or chop carrots along with a packet of tasty seasoning mix or dry dip mix and add to your meatloaf mix or ground beef for tacos and pasta sauce. Entice kids to eat freshly cut carrot sticks by making a creamy dip, such as ranch, and serve it as an afternoon snack.
Though some children love eating fruits, many would rather drink a sugary soda instead of eating an apple, pear or peach. Most fruits are low in empty calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. One way to make fruits more appealing to your children is to allow them to select their own fruits when they accompany you to the grocery store. When you get home, let them help you make a refreshing fruit salad. You can also whip up fruit smoothies by blending blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and yogurt. For convenience, buy a bag of frozen mixed fruits that you can just drop into the blender. Another option is to slice a banana and put it on your child's favorite breakfast cereal. You can also freeze red and green grapes for an icy treat on a hot summer day,
Many kids hate fish because it doesn't take like meat and because they dislike the strong fishy smell. However, fish is high in protein and packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for healthy brain and heart maintenance. Select fish such as tuna steaks, halibut or salmon and grill it the way you would a hamburger, which helps to dilute the fishy smell. Garnish with lettuce and use ketchup or a creamy dip as a condiment. Serve it to your youngsters as a "fishburger" with a side of baked potato. You can also add fresh shrimp to pasta sauce and serve it over spaghetti or your children's favorite noodles.
Though many kids like eating cheese on hamburgers, sandwiches and crackers, cottage cheese doesn't seem to get the same love. Its lumpy texture is not kid-friendly, but cottage cheese is high in protein and loaded with calcium, which helps to strengthen the bones of growing children. Mix granola, raisins and a handful of nuts into a bowl of cottage cheese for an appealing and tasty snack for your child. You can also slice apples and peaches on top of cottage cheese, or stir in plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt for a nice dessert.