There’s nothing more satisfying than putting lots of love into a meal and having your children really enjoy it. Conversly, there’s nothing more frustrating than having the expectation that your children are going to love something you’ve cooked for them, and then have them refuse to eat it, or worse still, tease you by puttting it into their mouths and chewing, then spitting it out.
As parents, there are so many ways we can make ourselves feel guilty. Not feeding our children a balanced diet is just one more thing to beat ourselves up about! Ideally, children should be offered vegetables from a very young age, and be encouraged to eat vegetables by your example. If you don’t eat enough vegetables, it’s unlikely your children will. Research shows that the ‘number of foods kids like does not change much from the age of two or three to age eight’ and that ‘new foods are often more likely accepted at age two to four than at four to eight.’ That doesn’t mean that it is too late to get your older kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, but rather that they won’t do it on their own and that you are going to have to work at it.
Of course we’d all like our children eating vegetables, but the reality is, many children simply don’t go for vegetables by choice. That’s when you need to resort to vegetables by stealth. Use a food processor to chop vegetables very finely, and add to everything you eat. Curries, spaghetti bolognese, and nachos are dishes that lend themselves to vetetables by stealth. Use a large variety of vegetables including those which they would never eat on their own such as brussels sprouts. At the same time, you still need to be offering your children whole vegetables. They need to see them on their plate to get used to the idea of eating them. There’s no need to make a fuss if they don’t eat the whole vegetables on their plate. As long as they are eating the hidden vegetables in the meals you have prepared for them, you can just smile, satisfied in the knowledge that you have won the vegetable battle without them even knowing it.
Some other ides for getting your kids to eat vegetables are:
- offer chopped veggies with a dip, such as hommous
- serve vegetables as a stir-fry
- let your child help prepare the meal
- start a vegetable garden at home so your kids can eat the vegetables they grow or visit a farm or farmer’s market.
Finely chop vegetables such as onion carrot brocolli celery (including some leaves) red capsicum spinach (small amount) brussels sprouts (no more than two as they have a strong flavour)
Add all vegetables to a frying pan, along with a couple of tins of organic tomatoes. Simmer. Note you do not need to fry any of the vegetables in oil.
Whilst the vegetables are cooking, add in some garlic, a small amount of sugar and some tomato paste.
Blend one or two tins of kidney beans or canellini beans to a thick paste, and add to the mixture. Stir well, and simmer for another couple of minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Layer corn chips, vegetable mixture and a small amount of cheese in a large baking dish, finishing with corn chips and a layer of cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese melts. Serve with mashed avocado and cherry tomatoes.
If you have any quick and easy vegetable rich recipes of your own, please share them by posting them below.