Nourishing Kids with Nutrient-Dense Food
Does your child only have a handful of foods that they eat without complaining? Do they stomp away from the table if their favourite foods aren’t offered? Or perhaps they are more interested in getting back to building LEGO than eating…
These moments are stressful because you want healthy, happy children and food battles can leave you wondering on both levels! If you are nodding your head “YES” to all of this, I have exciting news. Whatever your current food battle is, the tips and tasty recipes below will help you nourish your child well with a smile on their face!
Increasing exposure, autonomy, and the nutrition in every bite are all key factors to nourishing your hesitant eater. Here are 5 main ways to put these strategies into action:
(1) Increase their involvement in food preparation. Kids who help with grocery shopping and food preparation are often more interested in trying new foods. For age-appropriate ideas for getting your kids into the kitchen, head to this post.
(2) Offer consistent exposure to new and familiar foods. Kids tend to be more open to trying new foods when they are offered with familiar foods. But it is also important to continue to keep familiar foods in the rotation as well.
(3) Add nutrient density to their favourite foods. For example, if your child loves pasta, why not serve it with a veggie-rich pasta sauce? If your child loves muffins, why not add a scoop of Healthy Height? See below for more examples and recipes!
(4) Capitalize on their appetite. Limit “filler foods” at meals and snacks and focusing on nutrient-rich options more often.
(5) Keep calm and eat on! Remember that it is your job to decide what food is offered and when, it is your child’s job to decide if they will eat and how much.
Healthy Height contains protein and several vitamins and minerals that support optimal growth. By adding a scoop to foods your child loves, you can increase the nutrition in every bite! Smoothies are a great place to start but it is also an amazing addition energy balls, fruit dips, pancakes, muffins and more!
Here are a few ideas of ways to add nutrient density to meals and snacks in your home.
If your child loves:
Try this Superhero Chocolate and Kale Smoothie recipe. In the case of chocolate milk, I like to add a scoop of Healthy Height chocolate protein powder to a cup of milk. This becomes a more nutrient-dense beverage, while delivering the same delicious flavour as regular chocolate milk. And when my kids ask for a chocolate smoothie, I love to start with my “chocolate milk alternative”, and then add a banana and a handful for frozen kale or spinach.
Try making your own! Slice chicken breasts into thin pieces. Roll them in flour, then egg white, then breadcrumbs and bake at 400F for about 35 minutes (until an internal temperature of 165F is reached). And here is a nutrient dense bonus idea: collect the end of your cereal, crackers, and bread in a container and use that instead of store-bought breadcrumbs.
Try this Pumpkin Mac and Cheese packed with beta carotene, calcium, protein, and fiber.
Here are a few fun additions that bring added energy, protein, healthy fats, and yummy flavor!
(1) Offer Dip: Serve hummus or guacamole as a veggie dip.
(2) Add a Topping: Add on mashed avocado, nut/seed butter, shredded cheese, or hemp hearts to toast, veggies, fruit, pasta, and more!
(3) Add a Mixin’: Stir Healthy Height protein powder into yogurt and serve as a dip for fruit or as a base with granola on top.
(4) Offer Protein-Packed Pancakes: Add a scoop of Healthy Height to the batter of your favourite pancake or waffle recipe.
(5) Make Every Bite Count: Make these delicious Energy Bites with your child. They have a similar texture and flavor to donut holes with so much more nutrition!
Adequate nutrition is important for optimal physical and cognitive growth and development. But meeting these needs doesn’t have to be stressful. When the challenges of a busy schedule and children’s food preferences start to feel overwhelming, use these strategies to make simple swaps to increase your child's nutrient intake in a manageable way!