Getting little ones to eat their veggies can be a little tricky; especially through the toddler years. Sometimes it can feel like every effort you make to nourish those little bodies is a complete waste of time- ending up as a pile of mess all over the floor, or simply left untouched; the bin as its destiny.
Despite the discouragement that can come with these parent vs child food wars, please remember that any opportunity to nourish your kids with real food is never wasted, even if it takes some time (and maybe a few tantrums) to get there. If you haven't discovered it yet, my book Supercharged Food for Kids features fully road-tested recipe that kids actually eat and enjoy. I've collated a collection of my most loved kids recipes, ones like mac and cheese and pizza and chicken nuggets but all with a healthy slant and a couple of nifty ingredient switches.
Persisting with a real-food culture despite seasons of narrow tastes will always pay off. I know how easy it can be to give into their constant requests for sugary snacks or chocolate, but maintaining a culture of real-food variety; continually exposing your youngsters to different colours, textures and flavours of real, unprocessed, fresh of wholefoods is bound to build a long term appreciation and openness to healthy food.
Another great way to get kids enjoying their veggies is to have them involved in the process of selecting and making their food. Creating some space in your schedule to bring your kids along for the journey of shopping (or better yet, picking- if you are fortunate enough to have a veggie garden) and being involved in some kitchen creations can be a real source of joy for little ones, and a great time to teach them about the origins of their food.
These cucumber sailing boats are a fun project that the kids will adore making with you. They are very easy to make, and are a great snack combining the beautiful micronutrients that raw veggies have to offer, as well as a nice hit of healthy fats from the yoghurt; perfect for filling up and nourishing growing bodies.
Cucumbers are a wonderful summer vegetable, are super easy to cut up at any time, and kids generally take to veggie sticks fairly easily. Cucumbers are a secret weapon of hydration in warm weather due to their high water content and their ability to cool the body down. Red capsicums are another lovely raw veg that can be easily cut into veggie sticks for a child’s lunch box, and their bright red colour is evidence of a host of free-radical fighting antioxidants including high levels of vitamin C- perfect for boosting the immune system during the years of childhood bugs.
Kids will enjoy these darling little boats as an afternoon snack or weekend project with friends. They also make a great finger food for a birthday party or gathering where hungry little tummies are present.
- 2 small Lebanese (short) cucumbers
- 260 g (914 oz/1 cup) plain full-fat yoghurt or coconut yoghurt for dairy free
- 6 drops liquid stevia or 2 teaspoons your sweetener of choice
- pinch of Celtic sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 1 red capsicum (pepper), seeded
- toothpicks, for decorating
- Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds.
- Combine the yoghurt, stevia, salt and dill in a bowl. Spoon into the hollowed-out cucumbers.
- Cut triangles for sails out of the capsicum. Skewer each sail with a toothpick and stick the other end in the cucumber.
This is a great snack to let the kids make on their own – with parental supervision.
Cucumbers are mostly water, so they’re a great way to keep the body hydrated. They’re also a good source of B vitamins, so they’ll give your child a little energy boost.