This brain-boosting food chock-full of omega-3s is high on the list of offending foods for kids. The smell, taste, and texture are enough to promote a dinnertime tantrum. Rather than trying to push fishy fish-like salmon on your kids, start with blander fish like cod or flounder. Batter it lightly in whole-wheat breadcrumbs, bake it in the oven, and couple it with a kid-friendly staple like ketchup or even cocktail sauce. Include some of your kids' favorite side dishes with the meal and you'll be surprised that they may just eat it!
As a child even I would groan at the smell of Brussels sprouts, but oftentimes, it's overcooking and overboiling that leads to the awful aroma and our dislike. These mini-cabbages are packed with nutrition, though, so get creative! Go for fresh over frozen, which can get mushy and unappealing. Try to avoid overcooking and go with a quicker method like stir-frying. Slice them in half, sauté them in a little olive oil and garlic with a little salt and pepper, or add some nuts or occasionally a little bacon to spice it up a bit.
Trying to sell broccoli as little trees to kids isn't enough to boost their intake. Usually, overcooking broccoli leads to the smell that turns most kids off. To help with the aroma, avoid overcooking by adding broccoli to boiling water and simmering just until it turns bright green, about four to five minutes. Drain and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll quickly make this a family favorite.
Roasting is also a great way to increase broccoli intake. Mix with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and throw in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and voilà! Raw broccoli makes a great snack after school. Have precut vegetables ready in the refrigerator for when kids get home, add low-fat dip or salad dressing, and you'll know they’ve had something nutritious before dinner.
These often top the list because of their texture, taste, and smell, but they're a great way to start the day, as they are packed with protein.
Hard-boiled eggs make a great snack. Make a bunch at time and then put them in the refrigerator. When ready to snack, take out the yolks and replace with guacamole or hummus.
If your kids won't do hard-boiled eggs because of the smell, consider another preparation. Because they are so versatile, there's bound to be a preparation they will like. Try scrambling an egg in the morning with a dash of milk and a little seasoning. Put it in between slices of whole-grain bread or an English muffin to have on the go.
Texture and consistency are often the reasons for refusing this food or not knowing how to use it. Avocados are great sliced up into salads or on turkey sandwiches with cheese. Oftentimes, when sliced thinly enough, they can be put in between the cheese and turkey without being noticed. A big seller for those who don’t like avocados plain is guacamole. With all the seasonings and some of the extras like tomatoes that are included, using guacamole is a great way to boost intake of this heart-healthy fat, plus the kids can enjoy it with some of their other favorite foods.
You’d be amazed that this fuzzy fruit can easily become kid-friendly by serving it without the peel. Look in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle for chopped peaches in 100-percent juice. A great addition to any lunchbox and a time-saver for Mom and Dad!
A member of the cruciferous family and known for its cancer-preventive properties, this one might just top the list of worst smelling foods for kids… and adults, too. If your kids like mashed potatoes, though, we have a solution for you — mashed cauliflower. Simply boil a head of cauliflower just until it's done, mash by hand or in a food processor, add a pat of butter and a splash of milk, and you have a sneaky way of getting your family to eat cauliflower without the groans! It's also great for adults looking to minimize starchy carbohydrates in their diets.
Time to think beyond franks and beans. Eating beans alone is unlikely, so incorporate them into your favorite family meals. Black beans are a great way to boost protein and fiber in your kids' diet, and they're a great addition to salsas, burritos, or even homemade nachos (just go easy on the cheese). Kidney beans are great in chili, just in time for the fall season.
Asparagus is often the victim of overboiling, under-seasoning, and bitter taste. Bring this vitamin-packed vegetable back to life! Grab a bunch, cut off half to one inch on the bottom, rinse, pat dry, add one to 2 teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with a dash of kosher salt and pepper. Then, roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Make this a fun vegetable to eat by letting your kids use their fingers to chomp on it whole.
Yogurt is a great choice for kids, but often the ones kids choose are loaded with sugar and limited in protein. The chunks of fruit are sometimes too much for little ones and the Greek and plain yogurt can seem bitter in comparison. Greek yogurt is packed with protein and low in sugar. The good news is that many new varieties of flavored Greek yogurt are available with a protein punch and less sugar (e.g., Chobani and Fage). Another option is to add puréed strawberries, peaches, or berries to Greek or plain yogurt with a dash of honey.
Trying to get kids to switch from white bread to whole-wheat bread can be tough, but there are some great new options out there that can make this transition easier, and kids won't be able to tell the difference. The key is to look at the ingredient list and make sure the first ingredient says "whole wheat."
Whole-wheat wraps are a great alternative, too, as kids love wraps and there are so many things you can do with them (even make tortilla chips). Plus, they are a great way to boost fiber in their diet. Sometimes switching from white bread to a seedless rye is a great first step in beginning to switch them over from a color standpoint, plus it has a low glycemic index so it won’t leave them feeling hungry shortly after.
If only Popeye was enough to sell this superfood, we’d be in good shape. But the wilting, lack of eye appeal, and taste is enough for some kids to feed it to the dog. The great thing about spinach is how versatile it is. Incorporate it into casseroles, add it as a topping on pizza, use half spinach and half romaine in your salads, and your kids won’t even think twice about consuming it.
When kids eat cottage cheese, it often produces the same look as if they were eating a lemon. Texture, consistency, and blandness make this a no-go for many kids. This is one of those foods you have to sneak into your recipes in order for kids to consume. Packed with protein, this is a great addition to dips and other family favorites like mac and cheese. Your kids won't ever tell the difference!
You might wonder how this got on the offender list, but you’d be surprised that if chicken isn’t packed in nugget or tender form how tough it can be for parents to get their kids to eat it. The key here is to go blander. It’s easy to get carried away with spices and sauces, but that is a turnoff for kids and makes chicken appear like a completely new food to them. There are bunch of great recipes out there for healthy, simple oven-fried chicken, baked chicken with whole-wheat breadcrumbs, or grilled chicken with your kids favorite condiments on the side. They're a great way to mimic their favorites without all the calories and fat.
Yes, I know what you are thinking — not a food! But it's a big concern among parents, as sugary drinks often push this hydrating beverage to the back shelf. With so many children consuming too much juice and soda, parents often wonder how they can get their kids to drink water. A few suggestions are to dilute the juice. If they consume eight ounces at time, do six ounces of 100-percent juice with two ounces water. Gradually, work down the juice until your kids can get away with just a splash in eight ounces of water. Keep water cold in the refrigerator so when you kids open the door it's right in front with the juice in the back. Throw some fresh orange slices or other fruits in it to make it more eye-appealing.