Who was it that announced to all children that vegetables are pure evil, dooming health-conscious parents to resort to sneaking nutrition into their meals? Well, it’s about time vegetables became a daily expectation on child dinner plates, instead of an occasional curse. According to kidscooking.about.com, kids have to be exposed to vegetables up to 50 times to develop a taste for them, and that means the casual approach may be better than to bribe, threaten, or beg. Apparently, simple exposure is the key.
According to Parenthacks.com, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are the most kid-friendly and tolerable vegetables, and considering that they are also three of the most commonly grubbed on in America, this is anything but a surprise. Here are a few dish ideas to feed your children the healthy foods they need without the backlash of resistance.
Make a seemingly “familiar” swap. What kid doesn’t adore mashed potatoes? Why not try swapping them out for less starch-heavy cauliflower instead, raising the nutritional value without loosing the flavor? Check out this Mashed Cauliflower recipe.
Pair with delectable dips such as our healthy artichoke dip. Kids love finger foods and anything they can dip, so try roasting carrots, asparagus, zucchini “fries”, etc., and allow them to experiment with different dip options.
Throw some silliness in along with your spices. Whether using broccoli florets as “trees” or using cookie cutters to shape chunks of squash, kids love the idea of playing with their food, so why not let them play with healthy food?
Take a deep, patient breath. As noted above, exposure and consistency are key to introducing new vegetables, so resist force, and just lead by example and expect that cooperation may not come easily. Over time, compliance will come if a strong foundation is present.
For more tips and ideas on how to keep your children healthy through cooking, head here.