Smart Hacks for Busy Households
In a perfect world, kids would eat everything we give them with big smiles and no complaints. Reality may not be that simple, but it’s still fun and rewarding to help kids discover nutritious foods they love – like blueberries! Here are ideas for getting everyone from toddlers to teens involved in the kitchen, including fun ways to grab a boost of blue.
Share the Decision-Making Load
Kids of all ages appreciate having some level of control over what they do – and eating is no exception. If you can get them involved before mealtime, you may get more open minds and empty plates. Start as early as you can! If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, let the kids decide some of what you plant. On your grocery run, make it fun at the store or farmer’s market, with a challenge to create a colorful cart, or choose new produce to try each week.
Even during the times when you just don’t have the bandwidth to get creative, you can decide what to buy, then let them pick one out of two options. Every little bit can help. (Fair warning: they’ll probably go for the blueberries most often, so it’s a good idea to stay stocked and ready to grab a boost of blue!)
Give a Learning Boost
You know how endlessly curious kids can be. Satisfying that curiosity about the foods they eat can be a real win-win – they get to learn while eating healthy (ssshhhhh), and you might just get to eat the finished product in peace! Here are a few of our favorite tips from parents that help kids develop an interest and sense of ownership in snack and mealtimes.
- Go right to the source: Take trips to local farms as well as the farmer’s market. Let kids see where and how their food grows and talk to the passionate people who grow them.
- Get them on your level: Whether you’re rinsing blueberries at the sink or prepping at the kitchen counter or table, make sure kids have chairs or stools that allow them to be part of the action. They’ll enjoy helping when they can – and watching what you do, too.
- Build math skills: Following a recipe can help kids build their math skills, from measuring to calculating what you need to double or cut a recipe in half. Or, blueberries are so easy and fun, just give the kids a handful and have them count them before eating.
- Demonstrate cause and effect: Cooking and baking allows kids to follow a process from start to finish, going from raw ingredients to an assembled mixture to the final product. Let them see, smell, taste and touch along the way where possible.
- Celebrate the science: Baking is a science you can only master over time. For older kids and teens, you have an opportunity to work side by side, showing them how it all works — and maybe even teaching a little about patience and persistence along the way. And, you can’t beat the time spent together doing something fun and productive.
“My earliest blueberry memory is actually picking them as a kid and never making it back with a full basket because I would eat them all! I’m pretty sure they were put into pancakes with nuts and topped with yogurt and maple syrup.”
MS, RD, CDN, Blue Crew Member
Paint Your Plate with Blue
Blueberries fit perfectly and colorfully into USDA’s MyPlate recommendation to “make half your plate fruits and vegetables.” The MyPlate website and mobile app offer tools and quizzes to help you plan, personalize and track a healthy eating routine.