Kids and Veggies: An Unlikely Partnership

There’s a reason there are so many tips and suggestions, message boards and books to help parents encourage their kids to eat vegetables. It’s a challenge. But that good news is, it’s not impossible.

UW Health Pediatric Fitness Nutritionist Marcine Braun, MS, RD, shares why getting kids involved in gardening, and going to places like the Farmer’s Market or simple the grocery store, really can make a difference. And, she offers what could be the most important piece of advice for all of us – Have patience.

Kids in the Garden

Some Simple Tips – A Recap

Getting kids involved with their food can make them more interesting in actually trying new foods. A few simple tips include:

  • Go to a farmer’s market or even a grocery store that allows sampling. It helps get “buy-in” before you bring something home.
  • Have the kids do the washing, cutting and arranging of veggies (as appropriate for their ages)
  • Start growing. It doesn’t have to be a big garden. Just a pot on a windowsill with easy-to-grow herbs can be a great introduction.

Some Resources

Myths and Misconceptions About Fitness, Food and Health

Have you tried the Atkins Diet? Maybe you’ve eaten grapefruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then there’s the cabbage diet that, frankly, just sounds like a form of punishment.

As adults, we sometimes try crazy things to lose weight. And the “Diet Industry” knows that — there’s a reason it’s a billion dollar industry. We’re all looking for that quick fix. The problem is, often times our kids are too.

Maybe your teen skips breakfast (Myth #1) or drinks diet soda because she thinks it will help her lose weight. Maybe your son thinks exercise will work off that entire pizza he just consumed (Myth #19).

We all have misconceptions about what will help us lose weight, and even about what is really healthy (hint: just because something is labeled healthy, doesn’t mean it actually is. Myth #2.)

Judith Hilgers, RN, BSN, with UW Health’s Pediatric Fitness Clinic shares common myths about food, exercise and healthy habits and offers suggestions for what your kids (and let’s be honest, maybe even you) can do to make positive changes.

Learn more about 23 common food and fitness myths

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

Chocolate Rasberry Smoothie

It’s summer and parents may have to leave for work before the kids are up. Part of your child’s job should be to make a healthy breakfast (“the most important meal”)! This recipe is so tasty, kids will be excited about having it for breakfast, snack or dessert.

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup chocolate hazelnut or almond milk (in the natural foods section in a box)
  • 2 Tblsp. Protein powder (in the natural foods section —choose either whey or soy protein)
  • ½ banana, fresh or frozen (bananas can be peeled, halved and frozen so they are always ready for smoothies)
  • ¼ cup frozen raspberries
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and whiz! If too thick add milk or water to thin.
  2. Pour into a glass. Rinse out the blender right away.

Creating Fitness Traditions

A family tradition. Those words inspire a warm feeling. One of my favorite family traditions involves a bike ride that captures the essence of family, activity and our glorious Wisconsin northwoods.

As a young man I spent many summers as a camp counselor in northern Wisconsin. I developed a bond with kids and the northwoods. I love the sound of the loon, the northern lakes and the majesty of ancient pine forests. I wanted to share that same experience with my children.

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