Creatively Fun Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Family by Karen Ranzi, M.A.

creating-healthy-childrenCreatively Fun Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Family

by Karen Ranzi, M.A.

Author: Creating Healthy Children through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods

Some of the many advantages your children will experience after increasing the amount of fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables in their diets: absence of eye, ear, nose, throat or sinus infections, increased energy and attention spans, enhanced ability to process information, a heightened sense of ease, comfort, harmony, and perception, less hyperactivity, strengthened immune systems, enhanced athletic capability, increased brainpower and intellectual curiosity, emotional poise and a greater range of expressivity. I would like to share with you some of the many creative tips I learned along the nurturing parenting path to enhance a fun, healthy lifestyle that would help children understand the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables:

General Tips to Remember

1. Try different textures.
For example, a child may not like green leafy vegetables in a salad but may enjoy them in green smoothies, juices, soups or dips.

2. Keep fruits and vegetables around the kitchen in pretty baskets and brightly colored bowls.
Children will find the varied colors of the foods in their everyday environment attractive.

3. Name the foods you make with lively or catchy titles!
My kids created their own recipes, even from the time they were very little, and then gave names to the recipes. For example: BAT (Banana, Apple and a scoop of Tahini) – a cereal which worked very well at replacing the processed packaged cereals. BAT became a family favorite.

4. Kids love using equipment
A saladacco for making veggie pasta; a snow cone maker for making ices from fresh fruit juice for a special birthday party treat; a small juicer (such as The Healthy Juicer); a mini food processor; the Champion Juicer for making all sorts of recipes, especially banana ice cream; and a dehydrator for making crackers, veggie burgers and chips heated at low temperatures to preserve the enzymes of the food.

5. Play “Health Food Restaurant”
Let your kids be the Chefs! If you set the example, your children will love setting up counters, and preparing smoothies, juices, fruit or veggie platters, guacamole, cole slaw and beautiful salads. My children often used a doorway as their ideal place to set up their restaurant. The ironing board or a small table was the counter. Even when we traveled, we bought food for them to prepare meals for us in our hotel room, and my husband and I would be the customers, paying them for our meals.

6. Kids love dips!
I observe so many children eating their green leaves (such as kale, Romaine lettuce and spinach) and other veggies while delighting in fresh home-made dips made from fruits, vegetables and herbs such as basil, cilantro or dill, and nuts or seeds. Below are two of the many dips my children have enjoyed:

Creamy Cucumber Dill Dip

• 1 cup chopped cucumber
• 3 T soaked pine nuts (soaked a few hours)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2 soaked pitted dates
• cup fresh chopped dill
• 1 to 2 stalks celery

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add more dill if desired.

 

No Bean Hummos

• 2 cups peeled chopped zucchini
• cup hulled sesame seeds
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tsp. paprika
• 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Blend sesame seeds until ground using a high power blender such as the Vita-Mix or a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.

 

7. Kids adore attractive food designs that display a picture
For example, slicing a half inch thick pineapple circle can be used to make the “sun” and a bowl of orange sections makes the sun’s rays. I have used a heart-shaped stainless steel cake pan to prepare special raw treats for Valentine’s Day. I purchased different ridge-shaped cutters to make decorative trims on cucumbers, cantaloupes, peppers and carrots. Children like interesting and fun designs in food, so why not use these tools for making fun shapes with raw foods? It is also easy to find many different cookie cutter shapes and holiday designs for making cookies, cakes and other treats.

8. Use of puppetry with young children is an excellent way to introduce them to fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables and to encourage discussion of healthful living topics in a non-threatening play situation.

9. Traveling with your children provides an excellent learning experience and creates family bonding time.
We were always able to find fruits and vegetables during our travels to Central and South America and Europe. It was exciting to look up and identify specific fruits or vegetables in the book Fruits and Vegetables of the World by Michel Viard and then locate them in the market at each new destination.

 
Karen Ranzi is the author of Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, available at www.superhealthychildren.com, Barnes & Noble, and Whole Foods Markets. You can e-mail Karen at karen@superhealthychildren.com. Copyright 2010 Karen Ranzi

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