Last time I shared few tips and tricks for packing healthy lunch for your little tots. But what if your kid doesn’t eat the food at school at all? What if you check their lunch box and see the food which you packed with so much love and care is as it is? As a responsible mother, every mom tries to pack thier kids lunches or snack tiffin with the intention that they would eat it at school but somehow the lunch box returns as it is. So what can we do to ensure that the daily nutrition intake is taken by our little ones without fail. What generally we do is that we avoid giving them snack items and other food in between meal time but I would suggest all mommies to make best of the in-between meal time. This is the value time for kids who are fussy eater special the traditional dinner or lunch items.
Below are few tips to make sure your kids have enough intake of nutritious food in a form of snack item. Yes you may call that I am trying to fool them. As per your kid’s age and after school routine these tips can guide you to provide appropriate after-school snacks which keep kids’ tummy and mummy both happy:
1) Fuel the tummy : While we have been always told by our elders, parents and grandparents that in-between snacking could ruin ones appetite. But what if the kid doesn’t have any appetite or willingness to eat food at all? In such situations I feel ‘something is better than nothing’. I would be quite ok if my lo goes to sleep (afternoon nap/ night-time sleep) without eating dinner made than making her starve post lunch and assuming she would have proper food during dinner time, which she may or may not. I think sneaking in healthy snack options between meals can help keep your kid to reserve the nutrition value in body, and increase energy levels.
2) Mini meals : Snacking plays an important role in developing kids health especially for active toddlers and fussy eaters provided it should be healthy snack items. Rather than serving boring upma or poha you can serve them veg sticks, cheese balls, peanut-butter sandwich, oatmeal cookies, muffins, nachos, potato wedges, pasta prepared in pesto sauce, noodle masala style vermicelli (seviyan). These mini meals options for kids can subside their tummy trouble while still saving some room till dinner time.
3) Hit the right chord : As kids grow older their frequency of snacking reduces. But it’s not surprising that most of the kids are hungry after school as they eat lunch early like 10:00 am or 11:30 am. So you need to first figure out the timing for snacking which suits your child’s routine the best. It’s like hitting the hammer when Iron is hot, so as feeding them healthy snack when they are most hungry.
4) Make a food wishlist : Step into your kid’s shoes and make a list of food items he loves to eat and yet which is healthy or you can modify accordingly to your child’s requirement. And if you have a bit older kid involve him in making list, he’ll be excited to do so and further he would follow too. Also include the food items like mini pizza, chips, slice of cake, fruit popsicles, let not there be any forbidden food. By doing so you are encouraging them to eat what they like, and at the same time you can secure their nutritional benefits. Like you can make whole wheat pasta, wheat base mini pizza and fresh fruit popsicles.
5) Make ready-to-eat stuff : Make the healthy eating food options as a easy peasy pick for your little one. You can’t expect you little ones even the teens to cut the fruits for themselves. You have to keep it all ready and set on the table , preferably well presented. Not only kids but also we adults eat with eyes, so their food should be mess free, colorful and attractively presented.
6) Make your own mini meal : Some kids love making their own meal, you may involve them in preparation of mini meals or snack items. All you can do is to keep the ingredients already, like if you plan to make fruit smoothie, them keep the chopped, whip cream, measured milk and a blender ready. All they need to do is just mix all the ingredients into the jar and blend it. While making pizza you can ask them to select their own toppings and put as much as cheese. Try to make or allow them to make some kids-friendly recipes like mini pizza making, veggie wrap, fruity sticks, peanut butter sandwich are the popular ones for the nights when the dinner is hours away.
I hope the above mentioned tips might help you to motivate your fussy eater to eat healthy food options. Give healthy snack options and bank on the in-between meal snack time.