Free Resource Sheets to Teach Healthy Eating Habits


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Blueberry Smoothies: The Case of the Hidden Spinach

When I was eight, my mother revealed that for the past six months she had painstakingly poured skim milk into a whole milk container.

Her admission came one evening when she suggested that my brothers and I switch from whole milk to skim milk and the three of us, in a rare moment of consensus, all said, "yuk!"

"You've been drinking skim milk for months," my mother said. We didn't believe her. But, of course, it was true.

With a smirk on her face, my mother reached into the back of the refrigerator where she had hidden a fresh bottle of skim milk. She poured us each a glass of the skim milk and a glass of the "whole" milk. They were the same. And with that, my brothers and I began to drink skim milk poured directly from the skim milk bottle.

The only way your children can learn to like something is if they know they have been eating it.

I recently joined an online discussion where a mother was describing how much her daughter loved the muffins she made. The mom was happy because, unbeknownst to the daughter, the muffins contained zucchini. 

  • "Why not tell your daughter the muffins contain zucchini?" I wrote.
  • "Because, then my daughter will stop eating the muffins," this mother replied.

It's a tricky situation, but only if you're thinking short-term. 

  • Short-term thinking: I can't risk my daughter rejecting these muffins because it is the only way I can get zucchini into her.
  • Long-term thinking: When I reveal the ruse, my daughter will probably reject the muffins. Soon, though, she'll remember how much she loves them. Then she'll start to rethink her objection to zucchini.

I'm all about gunning for the long-term. Read The Happy Bite.

Once your daughter sees that she likes zucchini, but only in muffins, you'll be able to include it in other yummy recipes. She'll slowly start to expand her zucchini-acceptance.

If you can't convince your child to taste new foods read Why Some Kids Should Spit.

When you hide an ingredient you teach your children that the ingredient ought to be hidden, that it tastes bad. 

Hiding food reinforces what your children already think. That's not what you intend to do, is it?

Your kids can't decide they like something unless they know they're eating it.

  • "Mom, what's in this smoothie?"
  • "Blueberries, bananas, yogurt."
  • "Mmm, I love blueberries, bananas, and yogurt. 
  • "Mom, what's in this smoothie?"
  • "Blueberries, bananas, spinach, yogurt."
  • "Mmm, I love blueberries, bananas, spinach and yogurt."

 ~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

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