14 Creative Ways To Get Kids To Eat Their Veggies

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We asked: “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get kids to eat their vegetables?”

And you answered! Here are 15 great tips we received from our very own Mambo community!

Jill N.: “I put baby food veggies into their mac and cheese; I put pureed spinach into their brownies, I am the master of mixing veggies into things!”

Rochelle D.: “Some nutrients are not properly released without cooking. You just want to avoid over cooking. I mix them in casseroles and pasta dishes, like spinach in my lasagna. My 3 year old loves it.”

Amy S.: “… you can add raw purees. I puree spinach and blueberries raw and add it to all sorts of things. Chill, spaghetti sauce, cocoa pancakes. I still give them veggies at their meals, but don’t have to make WWIII out of it when I know they are getting some snuck in there. Dip helps a lot at my house. Lots and lots of dip.”

Chrystal L.: “…This year we are getting our produce through a CSA program and I have found that taking the kids to the farmers market to pick up the produce and going through it together at home, they are more likely to try it.”

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10 Tips for a Healthy & Safe Halloween

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A healthy Halloween – is it possible? Besides rice cakes and pencil sharpeners, what can you do? Since people don’t feel comfortable getting (or even giving) homemade treats such as caramel apples (a full serving of fruit!) anymore…we have found some great solutions! Check out our list of great ways to have a healthy Halloween.

We have solutions! Check out our list of great ways to have a healthy Halloween.

Tasty Treats, not Tricks!

1. Think there’s no such thing as good-for-you candy? Think again. Organic lollipops, gummy bears, candy drops: You can get delicious candy without chemicals or high-fructose corn syrup. Yummy Earth treats are also 100% organic, gluten-free, nut-free, kosher pareve and contain no artificial flavors. Take your pick of Roadside Root Beer, Freshest Fruit, Super Sour, Cheeky Lemon and many more. What about candy bars? Are any organic? Yes – and scrumptious, too! Crispy Cat dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, vegan, kosher and preservative-free candy bars actually taste better than conventional ones packed with mystery ingredients. A not-so-guilty pleasure (and not just for kids)!

2. Think outside of the candy jar! Handing out lunchbox-appropriate fun snacks is a great way to make Halloween a fun and healthy holiday. Try Pirate’s Booty, Original Tings, or Smart Puffs for a savory crunch that kids will love. Original Tings are vegan friendly, and all of these products are gluten-free. Or for a fruity, chewy treat, give out Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit – real, organic fruit in kid-friendly form.

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Tips for Helping the Overweight Child

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In the past, it was a concern for most parents to ensure their child was getting enough to eat. In these modern times, however, the concern has shifted. Parents now worry that their child may be eating too much of what is unhealthy. Dr. Denise Lamothe provides expert advice for parents who are concerned for their children.

NEVER:

  • tell your child they look fat or will get fat.
  • comment about their weight.
  • embarrass, humiliate or shame them.
  • put your child on a diet – this will ultimately cause weight gain.
  • focus on appearances.
  • use food to reward or punish your child.

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Back to School Nutrition – 5 Tips for Health Conscious Parents

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It’s that time of year again.  Get out the backpacks and lunch box for the first day of school.

Nourishing our children properly before, during, and after school can be a stressful undertaking, especially since this monotonous responsibility happens day after day.

Below are 5 tips to help health conscious parents feed kids during the school year and beyond.

1.  Make Breakfast Count

Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day and can impact a child’s ability to concentrate at school.  More importantly, recent studies have shown that kids who skip breakfast altogether are more likely to be overweight.   Unfortunately, the standard American breakfast is a waffle-toaster-strudel-tart, which neither promotes health nor satiates a growing child’s appetite.

Think dinner for breakfast.  That’s right dinner.  Some easy healthy meals for breakfast are leftover dinners or items that are typically thought of as evening foods.  Some of our favorite dinner-for-breakfast foods are chicken and cheese quesadillas, bean and cheese burritos, easy pizza on sourdough, leftover meat and veggies, and don’t forget good old fashioned protein rich eggs.

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Phytonutrients and Kids

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The risk factors for lifestyle diseases start building up in childhood. Healthy eating habits children pick up early in life protect against diet-related diseases and decrease future health risks. The research tells us so.

The bottom line: fruits and vegetables are just good for you. They are important sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients that keep the body healthy.

Aside from maintaining wellness, clinical research continues to prove that regular fruit and vegetable consumption leads to marked health benefits derived from protective natural chemicals in plants called phytonutrients which:

  • Boost the immune system
  • Enhance cellular communication
  • Improve blood vessel function, inhibit cholesterol deposits and decrease blood pressure
  • Repair cell and DNA damage caused by environmental and dietary toxins
  • Prevent cancer cell growth
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Regulate blood sugar levels and reduces diabetes risk

Recruiting Antioxidants: A Secret Army of Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) make up the plant’s defense mechanism against toxins in the environment. Imagine transporting these plant guardians to the body. You’re sure to get a health boost!

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Veggie Cuisine for Carnivores

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Kids are known to be finicky eaters. They often eschew foods like peas, broccoli, and carrots in favor of less healthy options like potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and pizza. Come to think of it, we know plenty of adults who don’t get the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, either.

One way to tempt (or some may say trick) your family into eating their veggies is to sneak them into their favorite foods. If you can do so without changing the flavor too much, they’ll enjoy their meals and get the nutrition they need. Try mixing carrots or beets into spaghetti sauce, blend squash or sweet potatoes with applesauce, or slip some chopped broccoli into ground meat when making hamburgers.

Another idea that everyone will love, from meat eaters to vegetarians: Make family favorites with plant protein products instead of meat. Plant protein foods provide low-fat protein, but not all meat substitutes are the same. Lightlife veggie “meats” are made with lean veggie protein and they mimic the texture and taste of meatier foods. The Grounds are great for making meatballs, sausage patties, and tacos, while the Smart Stuffers are so tasty no one but you will know they’re eating a non-meat meal.

Looking for more dinner ideas? Visit the Lightlife web site for delicious recipes for entrées, side dishes, soups and much more.

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School Lunch: Dealing With Peer Pressure

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Each day, our school aged children walk into their respective cafeterias to eat lunch among their peers.  While many children are content with healthy home packed lunches, often children want to fit in with their peers who are either eating low quality cafeteria food or unhealthy home packed lunches.  Each day, food conscience parents are faced with the particularly difficult dilemma of providing a well balanced nourishing meal or allowing your child to fit in comfortably with their peers.

Childhood obesity and diabetes are rising at obscene rate.  This current generation of children is expected to have a shorter projected lifespan, due in part by poor nutrition.  If one thing is clear, it’s that we are in a health crisis and proper nutrition is paramount to a full life.  Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Pack a Green Backpack

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Back to school means going back to school shopping. Crazy days are filled with trips to the mall to find the perfect first day of school outfit and hours are spent fulfilling the “school supplies list.” This has heavy-footprint-on-the-Earth written all over—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Green is in this year. Send your kids back to school in style with environmentally friendly (and teacher approved) products. Check out these simple tips:

1. Recycle. Go through your kid’s school supplies and see what you can salvage from last year. Unused (or slightly used) notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, erasers; just about anything. Even school uniforms can be recycled and passed down to younger siblings. Read the rest of this entry »

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