5 Gifts to Get Kids Excited about Healthy Eating (Kids Cook Monday)
|December 17, 2012||Posted by Stacy under Food education, Healthy eating at home, Healthy gifts for kids|
I don’t need to tell you how challenging it can be to raise a healthy eater in our toxic food culture. It’s difficult to make a case for beets and broccoli with kids who have developed a preference for chicken nuggets and pizza. And it’s way too easy to break out a box of mac ‘n cheese when you’re pressed for time or just can’t face another tantrum at dinner.
Of my three children, I struggle most with my oldest (age 7), whose not-eat list includes many fruits, most veggies, smoothies, potatoes, beans, and nuts. But while getting kids like him to develop a taste for healthy food can take work, I honestly believe that it can be done. We have made great progress in recent months (in just the past two weeks, he’s started eating kale chips, veggie pancakes, and broccoli fritters–woohooooo!!) and plan to keep at it in the new year.
Which brings me to my holiday gift list–5 simple ideas to inspire the most reluctant eater to taste, and love, food that comes straight from the earth:
Growing vegetables is a fun activity for kids—and they’re more likely to eat ones that they help produce. While the indoor AeroGarden Classic 7-Pod ($117) is a splurge, I just love the idea of sprouting fresh herbs, salad greens and cherry tomatoes in the house all year long. What’s also cool is that the plants are grown in water, not dirt—which means no mess or bugs. The garden comes with seeds for growing Genovese basil, dill, thyme, mint, oregano, Globe basil and lemon basil. Seed kits for cherry tomatoes, chili peppers, romaine lettuce and other edible plants can be purchased separately.
Getting kids active in the kitchen is a great way to get them excited about eating healthy. But good cookbooks for kids aren’t easy to find. Salad People and More Real Recipes: A New Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up ($12) by Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood Cookbook fame) is my pick for my own kids this year. With appealing sounding names like Tiny Tacos, Polka Dot Rice, Rainbow-Raisin Cole Slaw, and Chewy Energy Circles, the recipes feature written instructions for grown-ups along with step-by-step illustrations for the wees. This book is geared toward children up to about second or third grade. For older kids, try Katzen’s Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up ($12).
A serious chef needs an apron, of course. For girls, I adore this bright orange and pink one ($20) found on Etsy. (Matching mother-daughter sets are available, too.). For boys, you can’t go wrong with Williams-Sonoma’s Personalized Star Wars Apron ($25), which will be making an appearance under our tree.
Fun kitchen tools just for kids make great stocking stuffers. Kuhn Rikon makes some colorful products under its Kinderkitchen line, including these cute mouse measuring cups ($15), goldfish measuring spoon set ($7) , and dog knife ($11). Or, for your Star Wars fan, try Williams-Sonoma’s Stormtrooper Spatula ($15).
Crunch a Color ($10) is a mealtime game in which kids earn points for eating colorful fruits and veggies, proteins and grains, trying new foods, and good manners. So far, it’s inspired my three children (ages 7 and 4x2) to nibble everything from carrot chips to turnip fries. In the interest of full disclosure, the game was sent to me gratis–but I honestly think it is great. It’s even won a couple awards!