I’m happy to be partnering with Horizon Organic to share with you what three little boys have taught me over the last eight years plus an easy kid-friendly recipe for Waffled Pizza Pockets you’ll love!
Kids and healthy food choices aren’t always the best of friends. There is so much straight up SUGAR screaming at them from every corner of their little worlds, it’s frankly hard for even the tastiest of healthy foods to compete! We all really want our kids to truly ENJOY their veggies, fruits, and whole grains, but how we accomplish this? I don’t have all the answers, and we are still learning. Here are seven tips that have helped our family:
7 Ways to Help Your Kids Make Healthy Food Choices
- Give kids the words to describe what they like and do not like about new foods. Teach them to say more than, “I don’t like this. It’s gross.” When we try something new, it’s okay for them to respectfully and politely give their opinion. Is it sweet, sour, salty, crunchy, juicy, bitter, or soft?
- Reward and praise kids for being brave and trying something they aren’t sure they like. Can you believe I’ve said, I’ll give you a quarter if you take a bite of that zucchini? Sometimes the first bite is the hardest, and discovering that zucchini is good is worth a lot more than 25 cents to me!
- Don’t push or hide vegetables. Do both! Offer veggies raw with dips like ranch dressing and hummus. Offer them roasted, steamed, in pastas, in tacos, and blended up in smoothies and sauces.
- Keep dinner time fun. Gathering around the table to share a meal together should not be a battlefield. It should be family time. We don’t let a kid who doesn’t want to eat what has been prepared ruin that sacred family time. It’s not a power struggle. You either eat it or you don’t. There are few things kids can control. One of them is what they will swallow. If you let them, they will use it.
- Let your kids help you in the kitchen! Kids will want to taste the food they helped prepare. And cooking is such a great life skill. Teach them what you know or learn new things together and make memories in the kitchen! When you sit down to plan your meals for the week, let everyone be involved and take turns picking what’s for dinner.
- Don’t label kids as “picky eaters”. It’s tempting to give up on them, and just let them eat their three favorite things for every meal. Keep offering new foods, so that they actually expect to try something new every day. It gets easier when you are consistent.
- Talk about why it’s important to eat healthy foods. My boys are into cars, so we talk a lot about how different kinds of food are good fuel to help our bodies run smoothly, just like a well-tuned engine!
Since my older two boys have gone back to school, Little Boy #3 and I have had some great quality time in the kitchen. We love making these Easy Waffled Pizza Pockets for lunch, after school snack, or even a quick weeknight dinner. I love that everyone gets to make their own, and you can be as creative as you want with the toppings. Turkey pepperoni and cheese is our favorite, but we also love ham and pineapple for a Hawaiian style twist. Here’s how you make them: First, gather your toppings, and let the little hands do the work.
Spread the pizza sauce on one tortilla, and the cheese and toppings on the other.
Press the tortillas in a hot waffle iron to crisp up the tortilla and melt the cheese. Let mom or dad handle this part so little hands don’t get burned.
Slice and serve with extra pizza sauce for dipping.
These really are fun for kids and parents too!
What is your biggest mealtime struggle? How do you motivate your kids to eat healthy foods?
- 8 fajita size tortillas (whole wheat if you can find them)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 4 tablespoons pizza sauce (or more)
- 1 package turkey pepperoni
- Melted butter, for brushing on waffle iron
- Pineapple tidbits
- Black Olives
- Chicken sausage
- Preheat waffle iron.
- In the meantime, assemble your pizza pockets with about 1-2 tablespoons of pizza sauce spread onto one tortilla and 1/4 cup of cheese plus any toppings on the other. Leave a little bit of a border around the edge of the tortilla so that the toppings won't leak out in the waffle maker.
- When the waffle iron is ready, brush a bit of butter onto the top and bottom plates. This will make the outside of the tortilla nice and crispy.
- Place the tortilla with cheese and toppings on the bottom plate of the waffle maker, then top with the other tortilla.
- Close waffle iron and let the pizza pocket cook until it beeps.
- Remove from the waffle iron, allow to cool slightly, then slice into quarters.
This conversation is sponsored by Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.