How do you incorporate healthy ingredients into your kids' diets?

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Elysia - posted on 10/15/2010

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im pretty lucky that my son will eat pretty much anything so long as we are eating it and he very happily eats fruit and most of his veggies.
But if we do up dishes that are more pasta based i will add in extras for example when i make honey mustard chicken i add peas, corn, carrot and broccoli to it

Tara - posted on 10/08/2010

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There's a really great recipe book called Deceptively Delicious, written by Jessica Seinfeld. There are a few dozen different recipies in the book, varying from breakfast to lunch, dinner to desserts...but more than the recipies themselves, the concept behind incorporating vegetable and fruit puree's into meals (in place of sugar, for example), extends to your whole kitchen and each meal you prepare - even those for yourself.

I'm all about organic - have been for years...and I'm personally a vegetarian, which means my almost-3-year old son is, too, by default. =) But, aside from my personal choices, I'm in agreement with the other moms that the earlier the lessons our little ones learn about their own "what to eat" choices will have a long-lasting effect on their health. Consistently presenting fresh veggies and fruit is important, and, along the way for the finicky eaters...sneaking some veggie puree' into that yummy looking casserole they'll dig into first is just fine.

Gina - posted on 11/19/2010

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I use baby food! Slip it in with our meals and they never know! For example, in our spaghetti sauce I mix in a jar of carrots and a jar of squash. Kids are getting veggies and dont even know it! Also, I keep alot of fresh fruit in the house as well as veggies. For Breakfast we have something like fresh fruit with yogurt, and whole grain raisin toast. For lunch we wll something like veggie's with ranch dressing, cheese cubes, with a chicken salad sand on whole grain bread.

Ashleigh - posted on 10/03/2010

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Ever since my son was able to eat food, he always ate healthy foods. Even now when we do offer treats or junk food, he most of the time wont eat them, he prefers the healthier stuff. I usually only offer healthy food to eat, so that`s all hes got to chose from. I always cut up some fruit and veggies and leave them in the fridge and he goes in to help himself!

Jonna - posted on 09/27/2010

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We cook everything from scratch using only healthy ingredients. We don't really have to disguise healthy food in order for them to eat it. If you give them no option they will eat what you serve them, and they will begin liking it. My kids won't eat most processed food now. Some fun things that are really good are carrot muffins, whole grain pancakes with fresh berries in or on top, apples with peanut butter... you can get books on healthy cooking for kids at almost any bookstore. Good Luck!

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Jennifer - posted on 12/14/2010

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If you are concerned about bridging the gap with eating Fruits and Veggies check out the childrens health study under Resources on www.JDSjuiceplus.com Good Luck!

[deleted account]

the best way to incorperate healthy food into your child's diet, is to make it yours. My daughter and i eat all the same foods. Just fruits and veggies, once you start giving your child excitotoxins found in pretty much every food that comes from a box. their taste buds start to expect more pronounced flavor then they find veggies bland. avoiding these and processed sugars of any kind make it easier to get em to eat the veggies.

Lindsay - posted on 11/23/2010

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I think it's important to teach your kids to eat healthy and appreciate good food from the get go! That being said, I have some picky eaters, but we find ways of getting veggies into their dishes--like peas and carrots in mac and cheese and baking other veggies into dishes. My kids also really like dipping veggies, so I make a healthy dip and let them go to town! So fun!

Roe - posted on 11/22/2010

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My kids take Juice Plus+ every day. It is 15 fruits and vegetables, and two grains, in a capsul, chewable tablet, or gummies. Check out my website at www.roejp.com. I can answer any questions you have if you email me privately :-)

Melanie - posted on 11/13/2010

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cook from scratch Or use very little of the preprocessed "convenience foods" If you are making something like lasagna substitute lowfat and healthy foods instead so whole wheat noodles, low fat (not no fat it doesn't taste as good) and a healthy meat like ground turkey or chicken, for flavor add just a little ground italian sausage (about 1/4 of the total weight of the meat). and Use zucchini for some of the cheese. You can substitute up to 1/3 of the cheese with zucchini without losing flavor.
Slowly substitute canned with frozen and then frozen with fresh (the flavors are different and some kids won't want to change unless you change slowly)
If you want sweets make from scratch so that you know exactly what is in them.
Let them help if they are older. Let them choose, too. What they help with or choose; they own.
You can do the same with pretty much any dish.

Gina - posted on 11/11/2010

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We keep it simple but with a few choices. I focus on fruit, grains and milk for breakfast, 1 protein and 2 veggies for lunch and dinner. We make an activity out of cooking together, i think it entices them to eat what they have made. I stay away from juices and just keep coconut water(vitacoco), bottled water and oj to quench their thirst. Dessert is given as a reward for healthy eating.

Aspen - posted on 10/27/2010

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When it comes to my kids they eat whatever I put in front of them. My son loves it when I put bananas on his peanut butter sandwich for his school lunch, his lunch snacks always have some type of fruit or veggie with some type of cracker. I choose his drink cautiously, the kind with the least amount of sugar possible, without it being water. He drinks mostly water at home. Every once in a while they get soda as a treat but it is always caffeine free. My kids love fresh fruits and veggies, they will always choose bananas and watermelon over chips and candy. I don't force everything down their throat, but they don't get toooo many options.

Leila - posted on 10/23/2010

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Emphasis is placed on healthier foods and frequently home cooked. Don't deny the indulgent stuff, cookies, candies and cakes as kids will find a way to get at them; just limit the quantity where possible. It's hard around holidays and birthdays, but when offered healthy foods frequently/ daily - true good for you foods will win.

Crystal - posted on 10/16/2010

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I tell my kids that fresh fruits and vegs are heathly candy that will make u grow nice..

Christina - posted on 10/13/2010

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One thing I seen someone blog about was something they called a 'monkey platter' and it is basically a platter of different foods that you just place on the table. Say nothing just help yourself and be nonchalant about it. You will be surprised WHAT and HOW much your kids choose to eat when not being told what to eat. You can do a mix of things. Veggies and a few dipping sauces, crackers, mini pbj's, pickles, some fermented foods, maybe some lil chocolate (real chocolate) nibs. My kids eat more veggies this way. I put it out, say nothing, make myself a lil plate and move on secretly watching what they choose ;)

Randa - posted on 10/13/2010

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With my 3yr old, first we started him on fresh fruits & veggies early on (I made his baby food). We always have some sort of veggie @ dinner, and we keep a fully stocked fruit and veggie drawer in the fridge, so he has a choice. I also get him involved in the shopping, cleaning and cooking process of whatever we buy, he then in turn is proud of what HE did and will eat whatever. There are some veggies he doesn't like and that's ok, there's some I don't like. But if I do make what he doesn't like I don't force him to eat it even though it is still on his plate! Apart from fruits an veggies, I only buy grocery items where I know what the ingredients are, if I don't it doesn't come home with us! I also make all my meals from scratch, no prepackaged anything, so I know what is going into our foods and our bodies!

Sara - posted on 10/11/2010

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In disguise. And they love it! The younger you start them the easier it is. Now they prefer fresh blueberries and carrots over popsicles and potato chips.

Cassy - posted on 10/08/2010

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my boys love their healthy stuff anyway, but they go nuts for it when i grow it myself first. they used to complain about button squash, so i grew some and just the fact that they can help grow and pick it means they eat it. i only grow a few things as my garden is small, but i change what i grow and it's a great way to supplement the budget too.

Connie - posted on 10/08/2010

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I find it a lot harder to incorporate healthy veggies in little kids diets than it is for older ones. My son is still extremely picky when it comes to veggies, but i always find a way to sneak some in every now and then.. :) As for older kids, i do agree with the rest of the moms, it's how you prepare and cook them.. as they are growing and have a healthy appetite.. the great smell from the kitchen should make them curious as to what there's gonna be for dinner...

September - posted on 09/29/2010

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By offering healthy fresh foods. I only cook healthy meals so that's all our son knows. I live in Seattle and there are lots of markets here that sell fresh local food so that's what we buy. :)

Kandice - posted on 09/27/2010

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If you have older kids, the adjustment can be harder. Let them try it, serve the items often. Yes, if you only offer healthy items they will have to default to them. However, I think that teaching them to choose those healthier items is more important than them eating them because there isn't anything else.

Our girls are 7, 5, & 16 months. The older two have been exposed to healthy items their whole lives, but within the last year we've gone completely organic, cut out white sugars/flours, and a made a few more food related changes. I was so proud of my 7 yr old when she was given a lollipop at church & chose to put it in her pocket instead of eating it with the other children. :) Choices can lead to healthy lifestyles whereas forcing them could lead to them sneaking it at a friend's house.

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