Friday, July 25, 2014

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

*disclaimer, the point of this post is not to make you irritated that my kids will eat fruit and veg for breakfast, the point is to give you ideas and inspire a little creativity on the part of Mom or Dad.*

Vegetables for breakfast. Sounds crazy, right? My son has always been easy. He loves anything that grows on a vine, or as a root, or on a bush or tree. "Celery, Mom, but make sure its a big piece." Yeah, I know, annoying.

I thought maybe I had figured out the key to raising nutritionally sound children. I patted myself on each shoulder. It's kind of like those parents with one child who know the secrets of the universe when it comes to getting their one chronically-tired child to sleep through the night by six weeks old.

Oh, then little Miss came along. My daughter is a lover of all things sweet and sugary. She is by no means a naturally healthy eater. She'll down a McDonald's cheeseburger in 30 seconds if you put one in front of her. Processed orange fake-cheese dip is like manna from heaven to her. One of her first phrases was "MO' CHOC-IT, MOMMY!" (more chocolate, mommy)

So for this child I had to get creative. Enter Immersion Blender, or regular blender, if that's what you use. Available at fine retailers everywhere. This little gadget has made my life so much easier. So easy to clean and simple to use and store. So that's the big secret- a smoothie that looks like its maaaaybe just fruit. Well kids, it's not. Shhh. I take a little of this, a little of that, and before you know it you've got breakfast in a cup.

In each smoothie, I typically mix in a combination similar to this one: One banana, two handfuls of spinach, an apple, three baby carrots, two handfuls of blueberries, a half cup (or more)of yogurt, two tablespoons of peanut butter. If someone needs it, they get ground up flax seeds. So they have all that for breakfast and then say..."Mom, can I have some more?"

So here are six tips that have worked for me when getting my kids to drink smoothies:

1. Make the first couple you give them taste really, really good. Lots of fruit yogurt, strawberries, ice, etc etc. From there start introducing vegetables a little at a time. Less sweetened yogurt. More of the green stuff. By the end of the week they won't realize anything changed, but the idea of the 'fun delicious smoothie' lingers in their minds.

2. Never, never, neverrrrr let them see what you're putting into the blender. Unless they love vegetables. In that case, you may not need to be using these tips. *also works for husbands*

3. Make it Cold... because it just tastes better. Ice helps.

4. Give it a fun name. When I give Isaiah a really green smoothie, I call it 'The Incredible Hulk Smoothie.'What was once a moment of desperation and fear that he would reject drinking something green at 8 am became a real hit, now he requests it. You know, green smoothies are what makes the Incredible Hulk so strong...

5. Try it first. If it tastes good, you are much more likely to have success. No one wants to drink something that tastes gross.

6. Cool cups and straws. Big bright plastic straws and special 'smoothie cups.' This is trickery and manipulation, but whatever works.



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