10 August, 2010

5 Foods Your Kids MUST Eat

I was watching the Today Show yesterday, and saw a segment on foods our children should be eating as part of their every day diets.  I was pleased to see that my kids regularly get in 4 of the 5 foods, but one would be a doozy for them to get into their diets.

What are the 5 foods in case you missed it?

1. Fish...but not just any fish.  If it meant fish sticks and panko crusted halibut/cod, my kids would be all over it!  Nope, needs to be a cold water fatty fish.  These include Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, and Sardines.  The reason for these fish is that they are the Omega 3 fish. 

Yeah...not exactly what my children like to eat...nor me.  I know, TONS of people LOVE Salmon...I'm not one of them.  I've had it cooked so many different ways, hoping I'll see the light, but I have yet to like it.  However, there's hope for my kids.  I am determined to try new ways of preparing the Salmon so that they too will eat it.  I'll try the salmon salad instead of tuna salad, I'll try salmon fish sticks instead of "who knows what" fish sticks, I'll try salmon balls...anything.  I'll keep you updated and see if I can get them to eat salmon.  I think the pink throws them off...seriously...they are SO affected by the appearance of food.

2.  BEANS!  Hooray for beans...really!  Beans are considered a mood stabilizer.  They last through the day, helping prevent crashes.  When my son was a baby, his first two foods were avocado (EXCELLENT brain development), and beans!!!  He started with kidney beans, and grew to love all beans.  I can give him a can of garbanzo, kidney, northern white...any kind of beans, and he will eat it as is.  No need for covering them up.  My daughters are the same way.  However, there are kids who do not even want to see a bean.  So, there's the idea on the today show of pureeing black beans and putting them in your brownie recipe...or, you can take a white bean, puree it, and throw it in your cookie recipe.  And of course, the all wonderful hummus!  My kids will be eating A LOT of hummus soon where we're going!  Beans can go in A LOT!  When pureed, mashed, or whole, they pretty much take on flavors of other foods.  Try them, don't be afraid.

3.  Oats...what kid doesn't like them?  Ok, maybe there are a few, but you can seriously hide these babies in cookies, meat (think meatballs, meatloaf), make crusts for different foods, really limitless in a lot of way.  Oats keep the energy going. 

Ok, shameless Irish heritage plug here...McCann's is THE best oatmeal...I LOVE it, grew up on it, and now my kids like it with a smidge of butter and syrup.  When we're doing packaged oatmeal, I always mix a flavored one with a plain one to ease the sugar rush.  :)  We love making cookies with oatmeal...there's one my kids LOVE and it's packed with goodness.  It's called the breakfast cookie.  Of course my recipe is packed up, but basically...oats, dried berries, flax seeds, a hint of brown sugar, flour, and egg.  Go wild with your oats!

4. Eggs.  Bad?  Good?  Too many?  Cholesterol?  Gone are the days of the "bad" egg.  Eggs are a complete protein, so good for you.  And yes, it's ok to eat just the whites...I do quite often.  I don't think I need to go into too much detail on how to prepare an egg here.  :)  Just remember, there's scrambled, over easy, with yummy sauces, in recipes, another limitless food.  :)

5. Spinach.  My kids go crazy for spinach...raw, cooked, mixed into a recipe...they chow down on it.  I'm lucky, I know.  It's loaded with amazing minerals...so good for the whole body.  Use it instead of ice burg next time...more filling, more flavorful...healthy.  I know it can be a hard one to get your kids to love, but there's a reason Popeye was so fond of it!

 This site I cam across had some GREAT ideas for you to try...recipes sneaking these foods.  There's also a book I picked up called Deceptively Delicious...a whole cookbook on hiding healthy food!

Share your ideas with us in the comments...how do you hide foods, or how do you prepare them without hiding, but so they are appealing to kids?  We'd love to hear!