Teaching kids to eat more healthy

Published 10:11 pm Saturday, May 17, 2014

It’s the No. 1 question I get asked: “How do I get my kids to eat healthier?”

Before Easter, I set up a sampling station to feature a simple recipe, mini muffin frittatas. These little egg bites were perfectly cooked in the oven and featured sautéed onions, red and green bell peppers and chopped zucchini.

What did that mean?  These little frittatas were full of vegetables – colorful vegetables.  Many moms, shopping with their small children, smelled the aroma and wanted to taste a bite.  But here’s where it gets interesting. Moms grabbed a bite, but I witnessed a number of moms saying to their kids, “You probably won’t like it,” without even offering one single taste.

What has the biggest impact on a child’s eating habits?  It’s an answer you may or may not want to hear.  The answer to this question is that moms have the biggest impact on a child’s eating habits.  It’s what we do as moms — what we eat ourselves, what we buy in the grocery store, whether we plant a garden, what we cook in the kitchen, and what foods we put on the kitchen table that have the most impact on a child’s eating habits. As a mom, we hold the key to unlocking the door to healthier habits.

What doors can we unlock?

•Role modeling: It’s as simple as doing what you wish your child would do. Kids are always watching. And they pick up on our habits very quickly whether we like it or not. If we want our kids to eat healthier, what are our habits as parents? What foods do we grab when we are hungry? What beverages do we drink when we are thirsty? What meals are our favorites to prepare?

•The invitation: To be willing to try something new, we must first be invited to try it. That can start with a sample in the grocery store, a new experience of helping chop vegetables for a meal or even seeking out new dinner meal ideas together as a family.

•Plant a garden: Picking out seeds and vegetable plants, drawing a design and actually planting that garden are simple but important ways to get kids excited about seeing where their food comes from and then actually being willing to eat it. It’s an experience the kids will never forget.

And if you are interested in planting the One-Step Kids Garden (formerly known as Sprouts) at Austin Hy-Vee this year, please mark your calendar for 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21. To register by calling 507-437-7625 and ask for me. This event is free and open to kids ages 4 to 12-years-old and their parents.

Mini Muffin Frittatas

Source: The Egg Nutrition Center.

Makes 24 mini muffin servings.

All you need

•6 eggs

•1/2 cup fat-free milk

•1/4 teaspoon salt

•1/8 teaspoon black pepper

•1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

•1 tablespoon canola oil

•1-1/4 cup chopped vegetables (onions, zucchini, peppers)

 All you do

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat eggs, milk, salt and black pepper in medium bowl until blended.  Stir in shredded cheese. Set aside.

2. Heat pan over medium-high heat over stovetop; add canola oil and vegetables. Sauté for 3-5

minutes. Add vegetables to egg mixture.

3. Spoon egg mixture into greased mini muffin tins.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 2-3 minutes and serve.

 Follow Jen Haugen at JenHaugenRD.wordpress.com