Happy Healthy Family - The Veggie War

 

Being the head of your family is hard enough but on top of that you have to constantly strive to make your crew happy and healthy. We understand that it can become a roller coaster of ups and downs and that sometimes it seems easier to give in and cook three different meals than to cook something that they all hate. It may seem like the easiest way to keep the peace, but there are other ways to stay healthy!

 

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So let's talk right now about the greatest fight of all time, getting your kids to eat fruits and vegetables.

Note: We do not recommend that you hide vegetables on your child's plate. If they realize you're trying to be sneaky then they will have a hard time realizing the importance of vegetables in their lifestyle. Just add them to regular meals like in chili, spaghetti sauce or soup!

Children need lots of exposure to the same food before they come to grips with the taste. Every exposure to a fruit or vegetable counts! Even if they only take one bite, it's already another show and a great victory! A child may like the taste of fruit or veggies and then hate it for no reason. Don't think your child will never eat it again. When it comes to meal times, it's important to maintain your parental responsibility for eating and to let your children take responsibility for how much they want to eat.  
 
Keep exposing them in a different and fun way to all kinds of foods over time! Above all, do not force your children to finish their vegetables. Your role: decide what to eat, when and where they will eat. Their role: to decide how much they want to eat. If their broccoli is still on their plate, don't bribe them with dessert to finish it! Ask if they would be willing to try it another way, perhaps with cheese sauce, grilled with butter and salt, or raw with a dip.
 
Here are our top tips:
 

1. Dunk & Dip 

 

Combine a new fruit or vegetable with a dip! Kids love dips (ketchup included), which can increase the chances of them liking the new fruit or vegetable they're exposed to.

Try this Buttermilk Ranch dip. It's super popular for families!

1 Clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup buttermilk (1/2 cup milk + 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. let stand for 5-10 minutes)
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk until well blended. Chill until ready to use. Store in fridge for up to a week. 

 

2. Make it look fun!

 

Children love to eat fruits or vegetables on a stick or in fun shapes. Try cutting up fruit with cookie cutters or a variety of shapes. Even try buying a spiralizer to make noodles out of them and let them try it themselves with whatever vegetable they want!

 

3. Separate them!

It could be that one of the ingredients in a salad you serve them is the problem. Have them try each of the foods separately so they can determine what they don't like so you can better understand their tastes and be able to serve them vegetables on their own terms.

 

4. Set out some Hors-d'oeuvres

It's something I remember when I was a kid! There was always a tray of vegetables in the fridge, and after school it was on the counter until supper time. When we were seated for supper, Mom would add vegetables to the tray and put it back in the fridge for the next day. As an adult I now realize that is why I love green peppers!

It's also a great way for kids to eat their veggies before filling their bellies with meat and potatoes. Never force them to eat it, but keep it within easy reach.

 

5. Roast 'em

Try roasting vegetables, such as broccoli or green beans, with Parmesan cheese. The fat helps add flavour and can make the vegetables more appealing. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables and also changes their texture. Your kids may not like boiled Brussels sprouts (because yes, we even agree those are gross sometimes), but they'll likely eat them roasted.

Try this, Roasted Maple Brussel Sprouts with Hazelnuts

1/2 cup hazelnuts (omit in case of allergy)
6 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 Small red onion, cut into 1 inch wedges
2 tbsp Simply For Life Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup

In a Small metal cake pan, toast hazelnuts in 350F oven until fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Transfer to tea towel, rub off as much of the skins as possible. Coarsely chop and set aside. 

In roasting pan, toss together Brussels spouts, onion, oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 425F oven, stirring occasionally, until tender and edges are browned, about 30 minutes. 

Add hazelnuts, maple syrup and vinegar. Toss to combine. Roast for 5 minutes. 

Makes 4 servings. 

 

6. Mix them up!

Your children may prefer certain cold or hot vegetables. Texture or temperature can have an impact on the acceptance of some of them. Try any possible way to cook them and see which one they like the best. 

 

7. Make them little Sous-Chefs

 

Get your kids involved in the kitchen! If they participate in the preparation of the meal, they may be more inclined to eat it!

  • Get them involved in planning the week and writing the grocery list 

  • Have them wash their hands and put on a fun apron.

  • Let them read the recipe and put together the ingredients and cooking utensils for you.

  • Have them wash and rinse the ingredients for the recipe.

  • Depending on their age, let them chop or grate the ingredients

  • Have the little ones shred the salad with their little hands.

  • Older kids can measure for you (what a great way to practice fractions!)

  • Stirring and pouring can be a lot of fun! (Let them lick off the spoon - it's okay if it's messy).

  • Have them set and monitor the cooking time for you ... it's important work!

  • When cooled, they can help divide portions and serve other family members.

Take a good look at their proud little faces ...It is important to do a taste test! They have to make sure everything is ok before serving someone else.

 

 

Last but not least

 

It's okay that this is a bit of a mess. Your little cooks and your kitchen are washable, let them create memories! A word of advice, try to cook with them on a day when you are not pressed for time and you won't have to impress your guests during an important meal. It's all about happiness, family time and fun.

Can't find a good recipe? Our clients have access to thousands of recipes that have been parent tested, child approved!

 
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