Kids can create a lot of stress. Fact. It starts when they’re born and they’re keeping you up all night. It continues when their poo comes out green, they put EVERYTHING straight into their mouths and they seem to pick up every cough and sniffle anyone within a 10 mile radius of your home has had.
Then they start to walk and they become fascinated with plug sockets, the fireplace, cupboards, hot cups of tea, the letterbox, the stairs – basically anything and everything that can cause them harm or death.
I’m so bloody glad mine are at an age where they have at least some semblance of what is and isn’t dangerous (though sometimes I do wonder!) and can tell me if they have a problem.
Now, the major stress I have with them (we’re not quite at the drugs, sex and alcohol stage) is getting the required amount of vitamins and minerals into them. Meal times have become a bit of a battleground of late.
Having them clear their plates is a task and a half some days, and when veggies and fruits are involved, it can become an even bigger problem. I guess we’ve all heard of this slogan- 5 a day, the magic phrase that recommends 5 fruits and vegetables servings per day – a seemingly impossible task to a single father of 4!
Fruits and vegetables are very important to kids. They need strong bones, teeth, excellent immunity- you wouldn’t wish to be in hospital year in year out. And by-the way, never ask kids if they want an apple, banana, orange etc they will obviously turn down your offer. Serve them unannounced. That way, they won’t have any other choice but to eat whatever has been served. Here are the five ways you can use to get your kids eat plenty of fruits and vegetables;
SNACKING; ensure that you keep your fruits and vegetables on the lowest shelf in your refrigerator for easy accessibility to the kids. You should also make it a tradition for them to be taking fruit snacks after school instead having crisps, fries, and hamburger. You can fill some small containers with fruits; strawberries, chopped bananas, sliced pineapples. Make sure that you don’t serve them the same fruits every day- serve them something different from time to time so that they don’t get bored.
GARDENING; as a dad, involve your kids in backyard gardening. By so doing, they will get excited in eating what they planted themselves. Kids feel encouraged and have that sense of pride as the race to the garden to pick fresh fruits and vegetables for summertime dinners.
MIRROR; ensure that you act as an example to your kids if you want them to have more of veggies and fruits. Kids love to do what their parents are doing- so if you want them to eat, be an example to them.
MEALS PLANNING; as you plan your meals, don’t forget to include fruits and vegetables. Add fresh fruits to their morning cereals make fresh fruit smoothies for their breakfast, roast root vegetable, serve vegetable soup or an interesting fruit desert after meal and so on and so forth. Rule of the thumb; always be creative.
COOKING; some kids will never eat kale by itself, some can never stand carrots in their food, others onions, tomatoes etc. While you do the cooking, you can add a handful of these types of vegetables to whatever they love to eat. You can add pureed carrots to spaghetti sauce, or as you prepare them a smoothie you can add kale or cucumber or carrots!
Introduce something new each day, everyday keeping in mind to include plenty of veggies and fruits in all the meals. By so doing, you will not only be improving their health but their happiness as well.