Caralee Caldwell is a Kiwi food blogger and author of cookbook “Real Food Pledge”, which is full of recipes that are gluten, dairy and sugar-free – showing that healthy can be delicious!
To inspire others to be the best and healthiest version of themselves, Caralee will be at The Food Show Auckland, on from 30th July – 2nd August at ASB Showgrounds. Tickets are available at www.foodshow.co.nz and you can meet Caralee at her stand in the Healthy Hub zone!
As Mum to three gorgeous kids, Caralee shares her top tips for getting kids eating nutritious food and learning to love to cook!
|1.||At meal times put everything on the kid’s plate that you put on the adult’s plate including all the greens, even if they refuse to eat it. Always do this at every meal to give them the opportunity, because one day they might just try the broccoli and like it.|
|2.||Use skewers to cook your meals or give your kids skewers to put their food on. Cut up the ingredients and let them create their own skewers. My three kids are like most and are pretty fussy, but if I put their food on skewers they seem to eat it because they love the way it is presented. You can skewer fruit, vegetables and meats.|
|3.||Try cutting veggies into different shapes, for example instead of slicing zucchini try and make zucchini ribbons with a peeler or zucchini pasta with a madeline.|
|4.||Mix up your meals by having some meals where the kids can plate up their own food such as healthy a version of tacos, burritos, sushi or burgers. We put all the ingredients on a large board in the centre of the table and create a healthy platter of lettuce, tomato, avocado, grated carrot and grated beetroot with a bowl of home-made mince or patties on the side. Kids love to choose their own mixed plate and stack in their own way.|
|5.||Put healthy food in your kid’s lunchbox, basically don't give them an option. I work on one main item such as sushi, tuna or a wrap plus two pieces of fruit and a healthy snack.|
|6.||Teach the kids to make treats from fruit such as fruit sorbet with frozen fruit blitzed in the food processor, fruit smoothie ice blocks or fruit kebabs. My kids love these treats and they love to give it a go making them.|
|7.||Get your kids in the kitchen because when they learn to cook healthy food they learn to love to eating healthy food, plus you are teaching them life skills that are invaluable and you get to spend quality time with your kids. There are just so many wonderful benefits of cooking together.|
|8.||Buy your kids their own little apron, mixing spoon and bowl. My kids love having their own equipment, it makes them excited to give it a go.|
|9.||Allow your kids (as they grow) to cook using the stove, BBQ and hot oven and teach them how to hold things and how to avoid being burnt. My ten year old loves to cook bacon and eggs for us all, he is proud that he can also treat the adults to some cooking.|
|10.||Let your kids get involved, let them try cracking the egg into the bowl. The worst case scenario is that you have to eat egg shell!|
|11.||Start the kids on simple recipes like meat balls or raw truffles, where they can get their hands dirty and roll the ingredients into balls. It doesn't matter if the balls are all different sizes, you will be surprised at how well your younger kids (even as small as 3 – 4) can do even after only a few tries.|
|12.||If your kids help you cook or prepare food they will also enjoy eating it because they have taken pride in helping in the preparation.|
|13.||When you are in the kitchen with your kids let them get messy and taste test as they go. It can all be cleaned up afterwards including their little faces and let’s face it, licking the spoon is the best part.|
|14.||Take a “from farm to table” approach with your kids. Take your kids to the source such as farmers markets or stalls and get them to help you buy from the stalls directly. Get the kids to help you pick the produce and pay the money. They are fascinated in learning about where out food comes from and when they have that level of involvement they are more likely to enjoy eating it.|
Involve your kids in the meal planning for the week. Make them responsible for choosing the meal and then get them to help you cook it for the family at least once a week.
If all else fails trick them by hiding ingredients in food they love. I frequently add grated or shredded veg to mince or meatballs such as carrots, kale, beetroot & zucchini. One of my favourite weekend breakfast meals is the pumpkin pancakes from my book. My kids will not eat pumpkin but they happily eat my pumpkin pancakes, which I secretly love.
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