I am a mom who is thoroughly excited about good food and all that it is capable of doing for our bodies and health. I have four little people ages 7 and under that love food too. But all they care about is how it tastes.“Tasting good” is hard to define when you are seven, or five, or three, or one, but they sure know it when they see it (and taste it.)
Figuring out how to get my small folk to eat healthy food and enjoy it is an ongoing journey, but I have gained some nuggets of wisdom along the way. I can now say that I have four kids who eat plenty of healthy things and do much of it with a smile. (They still throw some food-fits here and there but really, who doesn’t?)
Nuggets of Wisdom for Getting Kids to Eat Immune-Boosting Foods
1. Try try again.
Just because your little munchkins say they don’t like something, doesn’t mean that they can’t try ONE bite of it. Require one bite of a new thing, calmly move on, and then serve it another day! Studies show that the more children try new foods, the more they learn to like them.
2. Let them help or in some way “make it themselves.”
My kids love to eat the things they have taken ownership of. If they rolled it, whisked it, stirred it, squeezed something on it, or smooshed it together, they are already excited about it and that excitement transfers to the eating of it!
3. Make it fun.
Healthy muffins go over way better if there are dark chocolate chips in them.Veggie-loaded soup goes down faster from a special bowl with a fancy spoon. Spices to boost the immune system of a kiddo with a cold are easy to enjoy when in a hot cacao drink. It’s just more fun that way.
4. Limit those snacks.
Snacking can just get out of hand in our house. Work on making it a habit to not respond to fussiness, frustration, sadness, or tiredness with food. Instead schedule just one or two reasonably sized and spaced snacks into your day. Besides learning better coping mechanisms than most of us adults have, you will find that kids’ appetites at mealtime skyrocket. As I cruelly tell my kids, “ It is good to feel hungry for your dinner.”
5. Hide stuff in stuff.
Parents, let’s feel free to hide spinach in smoothies, vitamin C powder in juice, shredded carrots in taco meat, and anything we can think of to get those veggies and nutrients in those little tummies. That counts!
6. Trust the process and try not to make it a battle.
Don’t sweat it if your little cherub refuses to eat that nasty green thing on his plate. Forming new habits is tricky for everyone. Consistently and calmly put fresh, colorful, unprocessed food in front of them and they will learn to eat at least some of it. I promise! Give yourself and them a lot of grace, try your best to make it fun, and trust that they can learn to eat and enjoy healthy things too.
Here’s a recipe that’s a hit in our house.
Immune-Boosting Spiced Hot Cacao (gluten, dairy and nut-free)
This Hot Cacao contains raw cacao and spices full of antioxidants and that have antibacterial and antiviral properties to boost immune systems and give bodies what they need to help fight off those pesky winter sicknesses. The raw cacao contains a good amount of magnesium which is calming and helps vitamin absorption. Grass-fed Collagen Peptides powder can be included for an optional protein boost. Even my 7-year-old niece, Julliette, a notoriously picky eater, likes it, so give it a try!
Prep 3 minute
Cook time 5 minutes
3 cups coconut milk(or another non-dairy milk)
3 tbs maple syrup or raw honey (more or less to taste)
2 tbs cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground, powdered ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 teenie pinch of pepper
1 teenie pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt
2 tsp collagen powder(optional)
1. Place Ingredients into a small pot on the stove on medium low. Wisk occasionally until hot. 2. Pour into mugs and add an ice cube to cool for small hands. Snuggle up and enjoy!
Meet Our Guest Blogger, Shannon Harden
Shannon Harden is a mother of four amazing children whom she is raising together with her fantastic husband, Blake. She is a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert and Instructor and a cellist living in the Cedar Crest area of the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is passionate about eating and cooking real food, and making healthy food accessible and fun for people from all walks of life. Shannon cares deeply about finding balance in her life mentally, physically and spiritually, and is learning daily about what that means. She spends her time loving and caring for her family, cooking, homeschooling, practicing yoga, reading, learning, playing music and spending quality time with her people. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook. And check out her food blog, Nourished in Real Life, for more recipes and tips and eventually cooking classes!
If you’re interested in becoming a guest blogger, check out the details here.
Pin this post, and follow us on Pinterest.