Wednesday: Mid Week Ramblings—Raising Healthy Eaters and Dinner Ideas

How to Raise Healthy Eaters

Raising children with good eating habits will be essential to their health and lifestyle as they grow older. Here are a few tips to help you:

For Infants

Babies acquire eating habits and preferences early so it is good to have a healthy start.

-Offer a variety of food to ensure a well balanced diet

-Quantity is not as important as variety

-Whenever you can the family should eat together, this will help your baby to look forward to the social interaction along with dinnertime.

-Never force babies to finish all of their food

-Many babies are slow eaters, which is a good thing to encourage. Trying to rush your baby can be one often worst habits you can teach them. Try to plan on plenty of time for meals so you can relax and enjoy the experience!

For Toddlers/Young Children

-First, examine yourself as a role model. If your own diet it poor you cannot expect your child to do any differently

-Don’t Bribe, avoid using sweets to get your children to eat something else. The real reward should be a healthy body not a piece of candy

-Expose! Did you know that your child might need to be exposed between 10 and 15 times before they will accept it. Many of us give up before that so even if your child only plays with the new food on the plate one day they might surprise you by actually taking a bite. Limit new food expose to one or two new foods a week.

-Avoid Power Struggle!! If your child can understand the why behind the rule it will help them develop a lifetime of sound food choices, whether you are there to enforce them or not.

-Involve Your Children! I have learned that if you let your child help in making the meal they will be more willing to actually eat it! –have link to our page about cooking with children

-Don’t Label and Dwell on the Positive

Also do not make your child’s eating habits part of the mealtime discussion because then mealtime becomes a stressful event. Talk about it later, perhaps at story time.

-Beware of too much snacking!

Your child might actually like the new food you are trying to give them but might already be full! If you are going to offer snacks be sure they are supplementing meals not sabotaging them!

-Give it time, many children simply grow out of being picky!

Cooking with Kids

Cooking with your children can help them learn about good nutrition and many other things. Cooking with your children helps you create a bond with them, helps to give them confidence, reinforces their math skills, teaches them a skill that will last a lifetime, and it sure a lot of fun! Cooking is a celebration of al the good things we have to be thankful for in life, including little kids! Cooking while young is great, it can help them find their independence, it can also help your children figure out your own true likes and dislikes. They can learn to experiment and have fun with food and spices from all around the world! Food can help you remember the best times of you life. Learn how to cook and you’ll be thankful and forever full!

Tips for cooking with your kids

-Get organized

Keeping yourself organized will help with the mess, clean up, and being able to have an enjoyable time.

Have kids wear their own aprons and wash up before you begin

Get out all the ingredients the recipe calls for

Get out all the utensils you will need to cook

-Give every child a responsibility

-Teach your children to clean as they cook

– You could give every child their own cleaning cloth

– Make sure your children are at the right “height” to cook, prop them up on a stool or chair so that they really feel like they are involved.

-Keep your Cool! Never grab a kid’s arm or speak harshly to a kid cook unless they are in real danger. It is ok to let them make mistakes!

– Are you children to young to use knives? Try letting them use scissors to snip fresh herbs and cut veggies.

Some of my personal favorite recipes

Recommended for Ages 4-6 (these recipes come for Rachel Ray’s Cooking with Kids cookbook)

Crunchy Oven-Baked Chicken Toes!

-makes 4 servings

1 cup corn flakes cereal, any brand

1 cup plain bread crumbs

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon allspice (the SECRET ingredient)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ cup all purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 and ½ pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into 2-inch pieces (grown-up helper for this one)

¼ cup honey mustard

½ cup barbecue sauce

Have your grown up helper turn the oven to 375.

Make the breading: Pour the corn flakes into a pie pan or other large shallow dish. Crush the cereal up with your hands. Mix in bread crumbs. Brown sugar, salt, peppers, and allspice (your SECRET ingredient; do not tell anybody what your secret ingredient is—ever!).

Drizzle the vegetable oil evenly over the breading. Have the Grown up pour the oil out slowly. A vegetable oil bottle has a big opening, so 3 tablespoons with pour out pretty quickly, probably by the time you can count to 5, so watch the grown up closely and count really loudly! Toss and turn it to mix the oil all through the bread crumbs and crushed-up corn flakes.

Pour the flour into another shallow dish, and the beaten eggs into a third. Turn he chicken in flour, then eggs, and then in the special crunchy breading. Arrange the chicken toes on a nonstick baking sheet. You and your GH should go and wash your hands now. Place the chicken toes in the oven and cook until crisp and brown all over, about 15 minutes.

When the toes come out of the oven, its time to stir up the barbecue sauce for dipping them. Mix together honey mustard and barbecue sauce in a small bowl. Dip your hot chicken toes into your honey mustard barbecue sauce.

For Ages 7-11

Sloppy Turkey Joes

-makes 4 servings

1 and 1/3 pounds ground turkey or ground turkey breast

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ red onion

½ red bell pepper

1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup tomato sauce (8 ounces)

2 crusty sandwich rolls, split

Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut open the package of ground turkey and hand it over to your grown up helper.

Have your grown up place a big skillet over medium-high heat for you. Add the oil. Have the grown up ad the ground turkey to the pan, in case it splatters. Break up the turkey with a big wooden spoon as it starts to cook. If anyone touches the raw turkey, they should go wash their hands.

If you are a really good chopper, using s small, sharp knife chop up some red onions. Remember when you are chopping to keep the fingers that you are not holding the knife with all tucked in and curled under. Have a grown up help you. You need half a red onion chopped up small. Pull the seeds and white membrane and the op out of the half red bell peppers and hop that up small too. Add the veggies to the cooking meat and stir it all together.

Next mix in a small bowl: grill seasoning blend, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and the tomato sauce. This will make your special sauce. When all the ingredients are combined, pour the sauce evenly over the meat and stir everything together really well. Turn the heat down to simmer and cool the sloppy mixture for 10 minutes. Blow on a spoonful until cool and taste it to see if you need to adjust the seasoning.

Have the grown up help you serve. Place bun bottoms on plates. Use a big ice cream scoop to get a pile of sloppy meant onto each bun. Put bun tops in place and serve!

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