Content courtesy of ahealthiermichigan.org
How often have you reached for pantry snacks like chips and pretzels, knowing they were your family’s favorite but not necessarily all that nutritious? On those hectic days where you’re rushing from work to school to soccer games to band practice, you don’t always have the time or energy to convince your kids to eat something healthier for a quick bite. But what if you could get the younger members of your family to snack on a wide array of fresh produce without complaints?
Teaching children healthy habits from a young age is important (about 80 percent of overweight adolescents grow up to become obese adults), and there’s no better place to start than in the kitchen. The secret to getting your young ones to be mindful eaters is to show how fun it can be to make nutritious foods that also taste amazing. This has been one of the core missions of #MIKidsCan for years. Our search for Michigan-inspired healthy dishes that kids will love took us to Grand Rapids, where Malamiah Juice Bar founder Jermale Eddie demonstrated the tasty power of juicing!
A child’s taste buds are quite sensitive to bitterness, which is why they don’t always love green veggies. To encourage kids in eating their daily servings of this important food group, we recommend blending dark leafy greens with sweeter fruits and creamy yogurt. Malamiah’s Spinach Kale Fruit Juice, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, and Avocado Pineapple Blend are all yummy examples of how to (somewhat sneakily) get kids to eat their veggies—and even ask for seconds! These concoctions are each packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, which are essential for reducing flu and cold symptoms should they catch something at school.
Making juices and smoothies can be the first step in your child’s journey toward becoming a real cooking pro. Creating meals from scratch is a perfect opportunity for elementary-age children to use math skills while measuring out ingredients like flax, coconut milk and chia seeds. They can also learn techniques like how to form a claw with their hands when cutting foods with a knife.
Consider getting a good collection of fruits, veggies and other mix-ins (or a full-on produce box delivery), and to enable kids to experiment. Their creativity and selections could surprise and amaze you! Our videographer, who hadn’t eaten fresh produce since he was a child, got the chance to try out the #MIKidsCan juices and even he was blown away by how simple and satisfying they were.
Special thanks to Jermale, his family and Malamiah Juice Bar for helping #MIKidsCan inspire the next generation of healthy Michiganders. Interested in tips, recipes, contests and sweepstakes? Learn more!
A Healthier Michigan's mission is to help everyone in Michigan get healthier from the inside out. This means everything from giving you resources to help you make better decisions about diet and exercise, as well as information on creating and sustaining nurturing communities and successful businesses — everything you need to help create a healthier Michigan.