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Veggie Kids Tips

Read these 21 Veggie Kids Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vegetarian tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How can I avoid using artificial food coloring in my child´s food?

Naturally Colored Frosting

If you prefer to not feed your kids artificial food coloring, but they love colored frosting on treats, try this healthier version. Strain frozen raspberries or blueberries, then whip the juice into white frosting. Not only is it bright and colorful, it also tastes great.

   
How can I get my kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?

Increasing Fruits and Veggies

To help your child make healthier food choices, make a weekly vegetable and fruit chart, and have your child color a picture or place a sticker for each vegetable or fruit eaten. Sometimes we simply need a visual reminder to help us to reach for some strawberries instead of a cookie.

   
How can I help my child be accepted by his peers?

Being Accepted by Peers

Raising vegetarian children can be tough on you and them. Being "different" from classmates and friends can be a strain on youngsters who just want to fit in. One of the best ways to help your child's peers accept a vegetarian lifestyle is through birthday or holiday parties, either at home or at school. This provides a chance for kids to sample vegetarian food in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, and can help take the mystery out of your child's eating habits.

   
How can I make food my kids will eat?

Keep Food Simple

Perhaps nothing is more frustrating than spending an hour making a complicated meal that your child refuses to touch. Children are often less suspicious of simple dishes, and by spending less time cooking, you can spend more time with your child.

   
How much juice can I feed my child?

Limit the Juice

Limit fruit juice intake to three or four ounces per day for your child. Juice can be filling, high in sugar, and doesn't provide fibre like the real fruit does. Offer juice after meals, and not before when it may curb a child's appetite for more wholesome foods.

   
How do I ensure that my child is getting enough calories?

Calorie-Rich Foods

To ensure good health in children, focus on calories, not protein. Although getting children used to eating raw fruits and vegetables is important, also offer plenty of high-density foods such as tofu, nut and seed butters, avocadoes and olives.

   
How do I get my kids to eat more vegetables?

Potatoes

Don't forget, potatoes and sweet potatoes are vegetables, and they are (especially the latter) quite nourishing and don't need a lot of embellishment to appeal to kids. French fries can be made much healthier if done at home, and baked instead of fried.

   
How can I get my kids to eat more protein?

Adding in Protein

To help increase your child's protein intake, you can blend small amounts of silken tofu into shakes, sauces, puddings and dips. There are many great tofu shake recipes, try a chocolate peanut butter one for a kid-friendly protein shake. If you don't use an entire block of tofu, immerse the unused portion in water and refrigerate for up to a week, changing the water daily.

   
How can I make sure my child is getting enough calories?

Keeping Track of Growth

Ask your health care provider for a growth record form so that you can follow your child's rate of growth at home. He or she can show you how simple it is to plot your child's height and weight monthly or quarterly. Thay way, you can rest assured that your child is making satisfactory progress, and you'll be the first to know if there is a problem.

   
How can I prevent my child from becoming overweight?

Childhood Obesity

The percentage of North American children who are overweight has reached the point where childhood obesity is now considered a major health problem. This is attributed to diets that are too high in fat and too low in fiber, as well as less physical activity. Vegetarian children are more likely to be as their ideal body weights. Their diet contains substantially more fiber and less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

   

Books on Raising Healthy Vegetarian Kids

To learn about vegetarianism and the nutritional needs of children under the age of two you might want to check out the "New Vegetarian Baby" (McBooks Press, 1999) by Sharon K. Yntema and Christine H. Beard. www.vegetarianbaby.com.

Another informative book on the subject is "Raising Vegetarian Children: A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony" Jo Stepaniak (McGraw-Hill, 2002). Her book is for babies to teenagers. She says, "Vegetarianism is not only a safe option but health-supporting choice that can give …[kids] a strong advantage for living a long, happy and disease-free life.”

   
How can I get my kids to try new foods?

Build on Familiar Tastes

Pre-schoolers often have a few select foods that they like to eat again and again. If your toddler is going through a nothing-but-green peas stage, try mixing them with basmati rice, whole wheat couscous, or alone in a bowl drenched with a nutritious sauce. A little peanut butter mashed with cooked beans may be more acceptable than the beans alone. Adding a bit of fruit juice is another good way to lend familiar flavor to unfamiliar foods.

   
Is it OK for my child to eat snacks?

Allow Some Snacking

Snacking is a very important way for young children to get all the calories they need in a day. Their small stomachs do not allow them to eat large meals and get sufficient calories in one sitting. Be sure to provide healthy snack choices, such as bread sticks, low-fat whole-grain crackers and other nutritious snacks.

   
How can I make sure my child is getting enough calories?

Giving Kids Enough Calories

Vegetarian diets can be bulky. Many plant foods are high in fiber and low in calories. Since young children have small stomachs they may become full before they've had a chance to take in enough calories to meet their energy needs. For this reason, it's important to be sure to include plenty of calorie-dense foods in the diets of young children.

   
How can I limit how much sugar my child eats?

Naturally Satisfy the Sweet Tooth

Satisfy your child's sweet tooth naturally with ripe bananas, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and dried fruit. If your child is used to having sweet desserts, try offering a fruit ambrosia salad made with sliced bananas, cubed steamed sweet potatoes, and a sprinkling of chopped dates or dried apricots.

   
How can I get my kids involved in cooking?

Let Your Child Help

Let your child help to fix the food whenever possible. Even a two-year-old can mash tofu or add dried fruit. While you're in the kitchen, talk to your child about the ingredients you're using, and give the child a choice when you can. For example, "Should we put a banana or an apple in this cereal?"

   
How can I get my kids to eat more vegetables?

Old Favorites

Your child will probably have a few vegetables and fruits that are favorites—carrots, potatoes, corn, apples and bananas, for example. Serve these foods often, perhaps paired with more unfamiliar vegetables and fruits. Although variety is important, it's also important for children to think of veggies as a regular part of their daily diets.

   
What are some fun vegetarian foods for kids?

Kid-Friendly Pasta

The next time you're in the grocery store, look for pastas made of corn (kids love the bright yellow color), amaranth, spelt, artichoke, brown rice and buckwheat flours. Children seem to like small pasta shapes such as spirals, shells, wagon wheels, elbow macaroni, and, of course, alphabet pasta. To make spaghetti more manageable for young children, snap it into two or three pieces before cooking.

   
How can I make sure my child is getting enough calories?

Kids Need More Fat

One of the ways to ensure young children are getting enough calories is by not overly restricting dietary fat. Kids need extra calories since they are growing and developing rapidly. So, for instance, adding a slice of avocado (nearly all fat) to a sandwich is fine, or using nut and seed butters on sandwiches and vegetable sticks is also a good idea.

   
How do I give my vegetarian child enough calcium?

Getting Enough Calcium

To ensure that your child is getting enough calcium, give calcium-fortified soymilk to children who do not consume dairy products. While nutrient amounts of specific brands of soymilk will vary, three cups of fortified soymilk typically provide about 420 calories, 18 gm of protein and 600 mg of calcium, all with only 9 gm of fat.

   
What are some vegetarian meals my kids will eat?

Kid-Friendly Veggie Dishes

Here are a few vegetarian ideas likely to please kids: noodles with peanut butter sauce, tempeh or TVP sloppy joes, whole-grain macaroni and soy cheese casserole, bean burritos and spaghetti with TVP (texturized vegetable protein) "meatballs."

   
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PJ Campbell