Ellie is the acting assistant digital editor for Healthy Food Guide. She loves cooking, dabbles in Crossfit and is a true believer that peanut butter makes everything better.

Getting your kids to eat their greens can seem like a mammoth task sometimes. And with leading health experts constantly telling us to up our fruit and veg intake, the five-a-day challenge seems more – well – challenging than ever.

In spite of this advice, a mere 9% of children aged 4-12 years old are currently getting their five-a-day, everyday, according to a recent survey*. And it’s not just the kids who are making excuses. 45% of parents are guilty of giving their children two or more unhealthy snacks a day after struggling to get them to eat fruit. 

Ensuring that children eat more nutritionally dense foods is vital to their growth and development as well as concentration levels and mood. So here are five ways to make sure your kids are getting their daily dose of the good stuff:

1. Get the kids involved with cooking

It’s important to teach children about what really goes into their food as well as how to cook fresh, healthy meals from scratch. Plus, cooking is fun! Learning to cook meals gives children an extra incentive to reap the rewards of their hard work.

These potato-base mini pizzas transform a fast-food favourite into a healthy snack that includes one of your five-a-day.

2. Sneak in the veggies

Making meals such as soups and sauces allows you to sneak in lots of different vegetables without the kids noticing. This spaghetti and meatballs recipe, for example, uses grated courgettes and carrots in the tomato sauce – no one will spot that they’re there!

3. Just act natural

Satiate your child’s sweet tooth with treats containing natural sugars such as energy balls or these healthy peanut butter flapjacks.  Although it is worth mentioning that all sugars are still sugar, natural sweeteners such as dates and agave syrup are less refined and contain other health benefits too.

4. Get creative

Skip the biscuits and top wholegrain crackers with different healthy toppings instead. The possibilities really are endless! Try peanut butter with apple and cinnamon, strawberries with cream cheese or classic eggs and avo. Tap for six ways to luxe your crispbreads.

5. Choose dishes you KNOW they’ll love

It sounds simple, but kids are much more likely to go for food that’s fun to make, look at and eat. So try to keep meals child-friendly with colourful smoothieshealthy pasta dishes and veggie wraps.

And what do you do when the kids ask for ice cream? Whip out these vegan chocobananas instead.

Keep the kids happy at mealtimes with some of our healthy recipes for kids.

*Data taken from Mintel’s Kids’ Snacking – UK – November 2018 report