When the children come home from school, they are hungry. So that homework, sport or piano lessons can be mastered with plenty of energy, children need a good healthy and nutritious lunch.
What does the optimal nutritious meal look like?
Actually, the same principles of a balanced diet apply to children as to adults. Children should eat lots of vegetables and healthy carbohydrates, preferably from whole grain products. Dairy products and meat are allowed but in moderation. With smaller children, even more dairy products are allowed to be on the menu. Young people, on the other hand, who are growing rapidly, need a little more energy, which is best provided by carbohydrates.
There are children who love vegetables, while others run away screaming from every green. Vegetable coercion and arguments when eating with children are mostly counterproductive and it does not make anyone happy in the end. That’s why I’ve put together a few tips on how to persuade stubborn little kids to eat a healthy meal. Tricks are definitely allowed because you can’t do without them:)
- Train their taste early:
The earlier children learn to taste vegetables, the sooner they will like them later, as they have gotten used to the taste. Also dare to offer children more than just carrots. The bigger and more colourful the selection, the more children will like it. My children love all kinds of raw vegetables! They enjoy the full-bodied taste that organic fruits and vegetables offer them. What they don’t like is cooked vegetables, be it organic or not! ( That could also be due to my cooking skills:))
- Disguise vegetables:
Let’s not fool ourselves, bringing up children is sometimes a skillful deception. This also applies to meals, where you can “hide” vegetables in your favourite dishes. Mashed potatoes are a good choice, where all kinds of beet or soft-boiled broccoli can be folded in. Other options are, vegetable meatballs, all kinds of pasta sauces or finely pureed soups. Tip: A little beetroot actually turns everything pink – which is perfect for budding princesses!
- Vegetables with superpowers:
This usually only works with smaller children but they just love superheroes. If you come up with a suitable story for a meal, the vegetables are also quickly consumed. Magical powers also make vegetables exciting! Once a fairy godmother has put a spell on the onions, suddenly they are no longer that spicy anymore.
- Stimulate appetite:
Cooking together with children makes them want to try the food too. If time and nerves allow, the children should help with the preparation and thus whet an appetite for the food they have cooked.
Let’s try some recipes:
Fried fish with mashed sweet potatoes
Ingredients: 150g sweet potatoes, 50g fish fillet, 1 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. oil, 1 tbsp. butter, pepper, some nutmeg, 1 lemon
- Wash, peel and roughly dice the sweet potatoes. Put 80ml of water in a saucepan and cook covered for 20 minutes until soft.
- In the meantime, dice the fish and lightly salt. Roll the cubes in turmeric and fry them in oil for 3 – 4 minutes in a coated pan.
- Mash the sweet potatoes with the cooking water. Stir in butter. Season to taste with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg. Wash the lemon and cut into wedges. Serve the fish with sweet potato puree and lemon wedges.
Easy tacos with chicken breast and salad
Ingredients: 2 breast fillets, 1 tbsp. oil, salt, pepper, 3 tomatoes, salad leaves, 4 taco shells, 4 tbsp. sour cream, 50g grated cheddar
- Wash and dab the chicken fillets and cut into small strips. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the meat all over. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool down for a short while.
- Wash and dice tomatoes and mix in with the meat. Separate the lettuce leaves, wash and shake dry. Line tacos with 1 salad leaf each. Cut the remaining lettuce into strips and fold into the chicken tomato mixture. Pour the mix onto the lettuce leaves and garnish with 1 tbsp. each of sour cream and cheddar.