It’s great to see the numbers of people who now understand the importance of consuming increased levels of plant-based foods, including nuts, various fruits, vegetables, and pulses. Eating these foods means it isn’t just your health that benefits, the planet does too!
We’ve all been awkward children when it comes to food and if you have seen children resisting food they don’t fancy eating before then you’ll be aware of how tough it can be to get the nippers eating more plant-based foods if they aren’t keen!
Fear not! There’s some stress-relieving news for you to soak in. Introducing plant-based foods does have the potential to be simplistic, as well as exciting, and of course not forgetting tasty!
There’s the conception that there isn’t much choice when it comes to plant-based foods, but we have some quick examples for you here that make up a balanced, wholesome diet:
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
- Fruit: mangos, bananas, grapes, blueberries
- Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, avocados
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes
- Beans and pulses: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Whole grains: brown rice, wholemeal bread, oats
So with this in mind, we have some other pointers to get the little ones, and possibly the lightly older ones in the family giving more plant-based foods a go:
You can use lots of veggies as ‘vessels’. You can fill peppers with rice, or couscous and other vegetables, which can be eaten there and then, once they’ve been in the oven for around 15 mins. Alternatively, they can be refrigerated and taken for lunches or as part of a picnic the next day. Peppers are visually appealing as they are colourful, and they taste great too!
Sometimes it can be an oversight and we just get stuck into a meal we know we can make easily for the little ones, but whether it’s on its own, or added as part of a meal, a salad is one of the easiest things you can prepare, and it has so much potential. Because of the extensive options in terms of fruit and veg you can include in a salad, the possibilities and combos are endless. As with the colours of peppers, if you make the salad attractive to the eyes, you’re more likely to have success when it comes to eating the salad. And what’s more, if the children don’t like certain things, you can swap them for something different next time.
The days of handing over a chocolate bar as a snack regularly are well and truly over. It’s okay as a treat, but moderation really is the key. Healthy snacking is just as easy to do, you just have to give it a moment to prep. Cut some carrot sticks, for example, or have some raisin boxes at the ready.
One ideal way of making sure you have fruit and veg in the house is to pop it in the freezer. You can then toss it in to a blender as part of a nutritious smoothie, or you defrost before using as ingredients in a meal. Think about having berries, peas, and broccoli in the freezer as all taste delicious, even after being frozen.
Wrap it up
Sandwiches are a bit stodgy for some people, and can become boring for children who want something more stimulating when it comes to eating. Why not switch it up and opt for a wrap instead of slices of bread? You can eat them cold, or put them in a grilling/toasty appliance to warm them up. Try and opt for a wholemeal option to keep things as healthy as possible.
Grow your own
Foraging (of which we have some great tips for), or planting your own plant-based foods in your garden is a wonderful option. If you’re new to the notion, then try and find something low maintenance, like herbs, or green beans. You can grow all sorts with little to no specialist equipment or space, but the benefit of some food DIY is that you can get children interested in it from an early age when they are at their most inquisitive, which can stay with them throughout life. Additionally, you can head to the local hedgerows, if you have them, or when you’re in some of the best UK glamping destinations near the luscious countryside so that you can pick blackberries and raspberries, just like the old days!