Parents are always looking for ways to get kids to eat the foods they need to remain healthy and active, but if your kids are like most, they can nix a veggie from ten paces. If you remember back to your own childhood, you will probably recall the torture of trying to swallow a mouthful of disgusting broccoli, brussel sprouts, or asparagus (vegetables that you have grown to love as an adult). Kids just have different tastes, and studies have shown that over time, our sense of taste (and the foods we find tasty) can change. This is unfortunate, because kids need a healthy and balanced diet whether they like it or not. However, there are a few ways to disguise food in order to make it more appealing to kids.

1. Just add sauce. Probably the easiest way to make foods more appealing is by masking the taste that children detest. So make some ants on a log (you know: celery, peanut butter, raisins), dip carrots in low-fat or homemade ranch dressing, or drizzle a little honey on their fruit. This probably isn’t an ideal long-term solution, but it will work in a pinch.

2. Make a smoothie. Smoothies are a great way to offer your child a veggie-in-treat’s-clothing. Vanilla soymilk or yogurt will mask the taste of any veggies you add and you can get a cool gross-out factor by making it green with spinach (they can’t taste it with the added flavors of vanilla, honey, and their favorite fruit, and you can give them at least one serving of green vegetables a day). Plus, you can share the wealth by having some yourself.

3. Get a children’s cookbook. You’re not the only parent stumped by how to make your child ingest all the nutrients they need on a daily basis. There are a lot of stubborn kids in the world. So get by with a little help from your friends by investing in a cookbook geared towards feeding kids. Many are written by parents imparting their own secrets, but there are also a fair number of offerings from big names like Better Homes and Gardens, as well as several penned by doctors and nutritionists.

4. Enlist their help. Kids may be more apt to eat up if they are involved in the process, so pick a recipe (some of the aforementioned cookbooks are specifically made for “mommy and me” type activities), go to the store, and have them help you prepare the meal. For some reason, things seem to taste better when you put some effort into them.

5. Plant a garden. If your children are reticent to try something new, maybe they just need a little time to familiarize themselves. So have them pick colorful fruits and vegetables to plant in your garden, watch them grow, and then make a party of sampling your fresh produce. This is not only a good way to get kids interested in healthy eating (and keep them occupied over the summer), it is also an excellent method of incorporating some organic foods into your diet.

For more information on healthy food, check out the popular health website Nutritionist World where you can find nutritionist certification information.

Image source: dietitianmom.com

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