It’s the dilemma of most modern parents including Selwood parents. We know our children need to eat lots fruit and vegetables as they are jam-packed with nutrients – vitamins, minerals and fibre – but placing down a side helping of the green stuff in front of your kids is often viewed as a declaration of all out war…
We promote children’s health at Selwood through the encouragement of outdoors play as we believe this is an essential part of a happy, healthy childhood and we offer all kinds of products which promote outdoor play, such as trampolines, wooden climbing frames and other outdoors play equipment such as playhouses and sandpits.
But we also know how important a healthy diet is to healthy childhoods so here are some of the tricks we use to get our children swallowing their fruit and veg…
Cutting it up small. Finely diced onions, carrots, leeks and celery can be added to sauces and stews and need not be noticeable. You can also purée the sauce to make them even less noticeable.
Eating raw vegetables with dips. We really love dips – and sliced carrot sticks, celery and cherry tomatoes make excellent dippers. Most children love carrot sticks and you could also try sliced red pepper (red peppers contain high levels of Vitamin C, which is good for preventing colds) as a dipper.
Dip it in. You can also use the dip as a sneaky way of sneaking in vegetables. Houmous is made from chick-peas, which count as one of your five a day, or you could make your own home-made tomato salsa.
Peas please. Most children like peas and sweetcorn, as they are naturally sweet. You can have peas as a side dish, or purée them with hot stock to make a simple and delicious soup. Sweetcorn can be added to pizza toppings and it is also good when added to creamy chicken soups.
Chopped up fruit. Fruit can be much easier as a route of getting the little people to eat lots of vitamin and mineral-packed products. Chopping apples into wedges and bananas into slices ensures there is a less waste. You can freeze banana slices too and whizz the frozen slices in a blender with Greek yoghurt and a spoonful of honey to make a simple and instant banana ice cream.
Smoothed over. Berries can be liquidised with milk or yoghurt to make a smoothie and you can squeeze your own oranges, ensuring you get the freshest possible orange juice.
Mis-match textures. Crunchy veg or fruit served along with a contrasting texture can complement each ingredient. Carrot sticks and a creamy dip for example, or an apple with cheese make the perfect pairings.
Choose seasonal fruits. Fruits such as berries bought out of season tend to taste more watery and flavourless, whereas berries and apples which have been grown in the UK and are eaten at the time of the year when they usually grow and ripen have much more sweetness and taste.
Encourage participation. Why not get your children to make pizzas with you? You can choose a whole wheat base, spread it with a home-made or good quality tomato sauce and get your kids to choose from sliced-up mushrooms and peppers, or chopped onions as a topping.