Tag Archives: kids eat right

Should you hide your child’s vegetables?

Today’s Kids Eat Right Monday Message addresses a point of internal struggle for many health-conscious parents: should you sneak vegetables into your child’s food if they don’t like eating them?


Getting creative by shredding carrots into your spaghetti sauce or folding mushrooms and onions into meatloaf is a perfectly acceptable strategy, but it shouldn’t be the only strategy. If you hide your child’s vegetables, how will they ever learn to recognize  and accept them as a healthy part of their diets?

It’s a good idea to serve vegetables in their natural form along with their disguised counterpart. That way, children can begin experimenting with tastes, textures, and aromas. They may even recognize the taste as “that yummy sweetness in Mom’s meatloaf!”

Learn to serve vegetables center-stage….er, plate! Increasing your own culinary skills with different vegetable sides and main dishes will allow your whole family to explore new flavors and styles of food. Kids may like garlic-roasted more than baked or steamed; they may even find the crisp crunch of a raw carrot more appealing compared to the soft, sweet nature of a steamed one. Plus, seeing a colorful plate will help kids internalize what a healthy plate should look like. Even if they don’t realize it, internalizations like this will carry over into college and adulthood when your kids have to prepare their own meals. I know I want my nieces to tell their friends, My Aunt Riley always served food that was healthier and super good when I was at her house, so I try to emulate her in my habits.

Vegetables in Hiding
http://www.finecooking.com/articles/indian-vegetable-stir-fries.aspx http://fraldadepano.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/desafio-30-dias-30-saladas-diferentes/ http://paleoleap.com/zucchini-and-sweet-potato-frittata/ http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-baked-macaroni-amp-cheese-with-spinach-amp-red-peppers-recipes-from-the-kitchn-207869 http://www.food.com/recipe/kidney-bean-vegetable-soup-234605

Kids eat what they see their parents eating, so don’t skip yourself when trying to improve your kids’ nutrition. Let them see you eating AND ENJOYING different veggies. Odds are, they will be more willing to try them and more likely to enjoy them if they see you enjoying them!

Finally, hide veggies in plain sight. Pizzas, tacos and burritos, pasta, casseroles, and lasagnas offer great opportunities to mix in chunks of veggies like mushrooms, spinach, black olives, broccoli or cauliflower, onions, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados. Kids can see how veggies mix with foods they already like this way. The article mentions mixing butternut squash into mac and cheese– I have never done this, but it sounds DELICIOUS! So you see? Nothing is off limits. Get creative with your veggie medleys!

The second part of this week’s Monday Message is a recipe for Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts.


I personally have never enjoyed Brussels sprouts that weren’t heavily sauced with cheese, but this recipe actually sounds pretty simple and pretty yummy. I can’t share all these healthy messages to you all if I’m not willing to try something new myself, so I’m making a resolution for myself: I will make these saucy sprouts at some point in the next week or so, take some pictures, and let you all know how it goes.

While I’m doing that, think about some ways you can increase veggie consumption in your own life and the life of your kids and family! Any insights? Share below! Have a happy Monday!


Happy Halloween Monday Message

This week’s Kids Eat Right message ties in health with the spooky spirit of the season: How to Throw a Healthy Halloween Party!


Despite what you might think, dietitians aren’t insisting you keep the lock on the candy jar. Halloween is one day a year, so everyone should enjoy it! There are ways to make it fun and healthy while still indulging in your favorite candy.

  • Serve healthy snacks first: Let kids fill up on healthy, Halloween-themed snacks first and then bring out the candy. They will be full of nutritious goodness and will consume less candy.
  • Keep control of portions: Serve fun-sized candy bars and mini-muffins, cookies, and brownies for some regulation on how much kids consume. You can also consider having specified “snack times” between Halloween party games and activities rather than letting kids graze throughout the evening.
  • Make your own healthy treats: See examples a little further below!
  • Zombie Tag and other fun games keep kids active: Play Zombie tag where the “it” kid turns those he tags into more Zombies to tag the other kids. Google fun and active Halloween games to play.
  • Limit the leftovers: After the night of fun and fright is over, bag candy and put it in an out-of-sight place to limit consumption. Plus, your candy will last longer! Another fun use for leftover candy is to chop it up and mix it with granola, pretzels, nuts, or seeds and make trail mix to keep the Halloween spirit alive!

Try these fun, Halloween-themed foods!

Halloween Snacks

  • Orange baked sweet potato fries with green “goop” guacamole so your kids can get into the Halloween spirit with healthy Vitamin A and unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Black and orange tortilla chips with hummus, or try the Ghost Chips and Spider Dip featured on the Kids Eat Right website! It’s incredibly healthy and easy!
  • Tortilla roll ups with sun-dried tomato tortillas filled with lean sandwich meat or beans
  • Make your own orange-colored granola bars with chocolate chips, raisins, and nuts! You can control nuts and grains for kids with allergies.
  • Cut up apples and serve with caramel, peanut butter, or a fruit dip made with Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • PUMPKIN FLAVORED ANYTHING!! Use a can of pumpkin puree in your muffins, smoothies, and dips!
  • Popcorn with cinnamon and sugar mixed into the butter
  • Chocolate covered fruit
  • 10 Healthy Halloween Treats
  • Bake raw bread dough into bones and serve with dip or soup! Check it out here!
  • Layer pineapples, mandarin oranges, and whipped cream mixed with greek yogurt for a candy corn-inspired parfait. Check it out here!
  • Babel cheese eyeballs with red food paint and black olives. Check it out here!
  • Orange and black kabobs with cheddar cheese and midnight beauty grapes

Have a happy and healthy Halloween!


Happy Halloween! http://www.brunswickme.org/departments/parks-recreation/special-events/halloween-activies/

Healthy Halloween Party: http://www.eatright.org/kids/article.aspx?id=6442478656

Ghose Dip Video: http://www.eatright.org/kids/video.aspx?id=6442466342

Candy corn veggie platter: http://www.listotic.com/64-non-candy-halloween-snack-ideas/4/

Apples and Teeth: http://dailydelights.sheknows.com/articles/825097/healthy-halloween-snacks-for-your-little-monsters

Mummy hot dogs: http://www.ivillage.com/healthy-halloween-treats-kids-will-love/6-a-128659

Row, Row, Row Your Butt Off

The month is almost up and I am excited to post my last Kids Eat Right-related article next week and begin researching a new topic. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean you can skip out on me! I’ve still got two posts with which to capture your attention and challenge your creativity!

I found this article on NPR Boston this morning and really enjoyed the message it sent about exercise for kids and the potential for a good debate it introduced. I encourage you to read (skim) it during your lunch break.

The story is called “If You Build a Crew Program for Overweight Kids, They Will Row– And Get Fitter.” It’s not the catchiest title, but the message is strong: overweight and obese kids do not get the recommended number of hours of exercise, and the school PE environment does little to help boost their enthusiasm or confidence in this area. Thus, Boston Children’s Hospital has created a program called Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) On the Water that allows obese kids to engage in physical activity within their comfort zone. How? Rowing with other overweight kids.

OWL On The Water participants bring a shell out of the Community Rowing boathouse in Brighton, and to a dock on the Charles River. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

While some gym teachers may label these kids as unsuitable for excellence in team sports, it turns out that obese kids often possess a lot of muscular strength. Rowing is a great way for these kids to build that strength and avoid high-impact weight-bearing exercise that might hurt their joints. It’s also a great way to build camaraderie and confidence within a group of kids all suffering from the same issue of weight. The program is in its 10th season and fitness improvements in the 24 enrolled students have been documented every year.

Sarah Picard, Boston Children’s resident psychologist, says that her clients are the kids usually picked last for school sports. Some even avoid school to avoid participating in annual fitness testing. My favorite quote from the article is one of hers: “They [obese and overweight kids] are strong, powerful people, so when you put them in a program that caters to their strength set or ability set, they thrive.”

Alternatives to school gym class are popping up everywhere as communities and more formal organizations strive to engage the 23 million American kids who are overweight or obese. Their existence brings up some important questions:

  • How can our current school physical education system become more effective in encouraging kids to get active?
  • Should schools address physical activity in overweight and obese kids differently compared to their normal weight peers?

Dr. Michael Bergeron, executive director of the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute, points out the culture of exclusion that has developed in youth sports as coaches seek out the best students for their teams rather than those that could benefit from the exercise.

  • Do you agree?
  • How can school and community sporting teams focus on winning and encouraging health?
  • What does it mean to be “healthy” or “fit”?

Share your thoughts below! Read the original article here.