Kiddos are like sponges in that they absorb everything around them - what goes on in their surroundings, what others say and what others do. If you're not careful, the little parrot may pick up something from you that you wish they hadn't heard or seen. Why not use this opportunity to showcase your healthy habits (like NutriBlasting, for instance?) and inspire your kids to make wise nutritional decisions for years to come? They are your canvas; paint them with radiant, colorful, wholesome foods!
We all know that it's often difficult to convince kids to eat their vegetables. There are actually a few books on how to sneak these healthful foods into ordinary meals without them knowing. While I feel parents should do all they can to provide the right nutrients to growing children, I also feel that they would benefit by choosing and loving these foods entirely on their own. We don’t want them thinking at the age of 18 that macaroni and cheese counts toward their daily recommended intake of leafy greens!
So how do you turn your toddler into a life-long NutriBlaster?
1. Develop taste preferences while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Researchers have found that flavor preferences can develop while in utero, as well as during the first four months of life. Flavors and nutrients pass through the mother’s milk, which can influence which foods her offspring will desire, as well as help strengthen his or her immune system. However, it's important that the mother consistently consumes these healthful foods and routinely exposes her child to these foods after weaning. Don’t give up, it may take a few trials, but they will eventually be NutriBlasting with the best of ‘em!
2. Start with their favorites.
Food jabs are notorious during the younger years. Don’t let this frustrate you. Take your child’s favorite food and combine it with some less favorable foods. Over time, the taste pallet will adjust and his/her food repertoire will expand naturally. Let’s say little Timmy will only eat bananas and peanut butter. Toss in these two staples, a little pinch of spinach (trust me, if he doesn’t see, he won’t even notice it's in there!) and a dash of almond milk to make him a PB&B shake. I bet he loves chocolate, too. Instead of squirting in Hershey’s syrup, add some raw cacao powder for a nutritional boost of minerals and antioxidants!
3. Include your child in the process of making a delicious NutriBlast.
Your child idolizes you. This is why you might catch her wearing your high heels or him tossing around a football. Why not make him or her feel grown up by teaching her healthy cooking while you're at it? Let your child pick out the ingredients at the grocery store, toss in the blueberries and leafy greens, and if they're old enough, let them dice up some cucumbers or peaches. It’s always fun to watch the cyclonic action when they press down on the cup to start Blasting away!
4. Make up fun names and games around NutriBlast time.
My nephew’s favorite names have been Shrek’s Snack or Purple People Eater Blast. Choose ingredients and then have them guess what color the final NutriBlast will be. This will get their mind off of the ingredients going into it and more on fun and games.
5. Pay attention to what they're eating when you're not around.
Sugary sodas, salt -laden fast food and processed food-like substances that are nutritionally void seem to be widely available wherever we turn. If your child consumes these foods in excess, they'll be less than thrilled with a broccoli floret or a ripe pear. Keep an abundance of nourishing foods in the home and teach them to make nutritious choices when out on their own.