Learn the Secrets to Getting Kids to Eat Healthy
Many health experts have predicted that this new generation may not outlive their parents. Rates of childhood obesity, type II diabetes, ADD, ADHD, chronically low immune systems, and other nutrition-related diseases are on the rise, and parents are struggling to raise healthy kids in a fast-food and junk-food filled world. National campaigns focused on childhood health problems and on unhealthy school lunches have brought the gravity of the health crisis involving American children to the forefront.
What can a parent do when his or her child refuses to eat anything green and seem to subsist on chicken-fingers and French fries alone?
Here are a few tricks of the trade from Hillary Feerick and Jeff Hillenbrand, authors of the new children’s book The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach™:
- Make food preparation a family affair. The more you involve your kids in the preparation and selection of meals and snacks, the more willing they are to try healthy foods. Even a simple trip to the grocery store to allow them to pick out the fruits and vegetables for the week (each child in the family should get his/her own choice) can make a world of difference. Let older children find recipes online that sound good to them using healthy foods. Allow them to choose how the vegetable of the day is prepared and even help in the preparation.
- Have a make-your-own smoothie party. Fill bowls with various ingredients, such as berries, mango, spinach, broccoli, flax or chia seeds, and let kids pick what they want. They can even turn the blender on! They love to be in control!
- Make your own salad. The same trick will work for salads. But don’t just include lettuce. Use seeds, fruit, dried peas—anything goes!
- Let them dip. Make a quick salad dressing/dip or use a store-bought one and watch them eat string beans, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and any other veggie that you cut into strips for dipping.
- Make veggie and fruit shapes. Thinly slice carrots and cucumbers and use tiny cookie cutters to make shapes. Everything is more fun when it’s in a shape (think silly bands).
- Make a vegetarian soup at least one night of the week. Pureed soups are great because you can’t see what’s in them (kale is easy to use this way). You’ll be amazed what they’ll eat when it’s been whizzed in the blender or mixed with an immersion blender.
As adults, we can be told that good nutrition fosters academic and athletic performance, but getting children to understand the importance of a healthy diet can be a daunting task, even with some tricks up your sleeve. Children need fun and entertaining ways to learn about healthy eating. One way is to lead by example. Another way is to tell a story about a super hero who gains powers from fruits and vegetables. The subtlety of fiction enables children to learn without even realizing that they are learning.
Start with the colorfully illustrated book called The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach™.
Mitch Spinach seems to be an ordinary kid, but his classmates have begun to suspect something. The notes in his custom-made, temperature-controlled Nutripak™ lunchbox appear to have been written in code. While other kids eat their usual chicken fingers and pepperoni pizza, Mitch Spinach mixes up his meal in a battery-powered blender before their curious and envious eyes. Although he is the smartest, nicest, strongest kid in Ms. Radicchio’s class, he often misses recess when he is called to Principal Lycopene’s office. The truth is that his high- powered fruit and vegetable smoothies give him special powers, such as super-sonic hearing and amazing night vision, which help him tackle problems and solve mysteries at Sunchoke Elementary.
Written in collaboration with renowned family physician and best selling author Joel Fuhrman, M.D, The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach is a unique book series that provides a perfect way for kids to learn about healthy eating while enjoying exciting adventures and mysteries. Each book in the series contains a healthy recipe and a “Secrets for Parents and Teachers” section, written by Dr. Fuhrman, that explains many of the nutritional concepts alluded to in the book. Dr. Fuhrman is a board-certified family physician, author, and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods.
While many books focus on a child’s dislike of a certain food (usually a vegetable), this book series is devoid of that type of negativity and instead transforms healthy eating into a behavior to be copied in order to gain “super” powers like those of Mitch Spinach. The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach children’s book series has the power to significantly change the way that children eat because it actually prompts children to ask for healthy food without preaching to them about the benefits of a healthy diet. Good health begins in childhood, and scientific evidence suggests that the food children eat in the first ten years of their lives can have a critical and profound effect on their life-long health.
The Mitch Spinach website http://www.MitchSpinach.com features creative, multidisciplinary lesson plans and outlines the importance of sound nutrition. Kids can print educational games, such as crossword puzzles and word searches that pertain to the healthy foods used in the books to reinforce what they have learned.
A new resource to help you in your quest to adopt a healthy lifestyle as a family, The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach can make your transition even easier. When kids start asking their parents for broccoli, carrots, or flax seeds because they want to be like Mitch Spinach, your own healthy choices will seem effortless and fun!
To get kids on the right track with healthy eating, order your copy of The Secret Life of Mitch Spinach by visiting the website: http://www.MitchSpinach.com. This children’s book combines the fun of reading with the invaluable gift of health.
About the Authors:
Frustrated by the lack of a healthy, smart, cool role model for their five and six year-old children, Hillary Feerick and Jeff Hillenbrand created the Mitch Spinach children’s book series. They decided to combine their expertise (Jeff holds a BS in Exercise Physiology, and Hillary holds a BA and MA in English) to teach kids about the importance of eating healthy foods and reduce the number of children struggling with weight, chronic colds, ear infections and other nutrition-related problems. Learn more about the Mitch Spinach mission at http://www.MitchSpinach.com