Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Veggies on the sly...
So there's a new wave of parenting that is 'tricking' their children into eating vegetables.. Hiding them in things like brownies, cookies, pies and breads.. So, it got me thinking. I totally understand the concept of having to get your children to eat veggies because of their overwhelming nutritional value, but do we really want to spend so much time hiding the kids veggies that they never learn to like just a piece of broccoli or a circle of squash? Do we really want to depend solely on using other vehicles to get your kids to eat their vegetables, especially the kinds of things that we don't necessarily want them eating all of the time anyway? How nutritive is a carrot if the carrot is in buttery, sugar cake? I mean, if the cake recipe is modified as well, perhaps that would make more sense, but this is not the case in many of the recipes I have seen.
And yes, by all means kids should eat their vegetables, and hopefully like the process.. But that might be a little far fetched for the picky kid, or the even more stressed parent. So, yes, I say by all means offer your kids smoothies with greens and other veggies, and also add some pumpkin puree to their brownie mix..
As a matter of fact, I have been known to add butternut squash to mac and cheese, and beets to 'red' velvet cupcakes, as well as pureed and shredded veggies in everything from sauce to quesadillas, but keep in mind that studies have shown that it takes a child an average of 10 times to try something new food wise and actually like it....10 times! So think back to all of the peas that have hit the floor and the carrots that were pushed away to the furthest point of the highchair and tiny little mouths clamped so tightly shut a grain of sand wouldn't get in and add in some arms that were thrown up into the air in veggie-surrender, and you probably have less than 10 attempts do to complete and utter frustration.. 10 is a very high number when it comes to the cost of food, and the assumption that even a little of that will go uneaten/wasted. But we need as parents to fight the good fight and keep offering these veggies.. In their ordinary, recognizable, un-smothered forms.. Stalks of broccoli, slices of peppers, chopped squash, etc..
Something I have begin to learn is that kids are little sponges and need to know tons about everything... The more information people have about things, the more likely they are to be comfortable. Perhaps if your child is involved in the process of acquiring these veggies, they might be more likely to eat them.. Now that summer is slowly creeping upon us, take your kids veggie/fruit picking, or to a local farmers market or farm stand... Even to the supermarket produce section.. Let them be apart of the process of choosing which veggies, how many, what color, etc. Make it interesting.. Take the veggies home, and if age appropriate, let them be apart of the cooking and preparation, even if it means just letting them wash and dry them. If they went through the 'trouble' to prepare them, I can pretty much guarantee that they will at least try them, which could be a step in the right direction.
In the meantime, there are some tried and true recipes that I have used (both sneaky and not!) to get my little lady to eat her veggies, feel free to try them and let me know if you have any of your own suggestions or modifications that you think work!
1 cup chopped frozen spinach , thawed and drained
1/2 cup mashed potato or instant flakes (instant potatoes work great for this because they bind well, but if you have left over mashed potatoes, that's awesome too!)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded cheese of your choice, we used organic mozzarella
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, plus more to roll them in..
Olive oil or other healthy fat oil in spray form
Preheat oven to 350...
Mix together all of the ingredients.. they should have a 'meatball' consistency, maybe a little dryer.. you can add a few drops of water if you feel that they aren't pliable enough.
Form a ball, roll it some of the whole wheat breadcrumbs and flatten the balls a little to give them a 'nugget' like appearance.. continue until all of the mix is used..
Spray cookie sheet with oil, place nuggets on sheet and spray tops of them..
Cook in oven for 10 minutes, flip and cook for another 5-8 minutes until they are crispy looking and golden.
For my little lady, I have to break them up into pieces.. but feel free to give your kids a whole nugget. The spinach is a pretty obvious taste in this, it's flavor doesn't get buried by the competitiveness of the potatoes or cheese, just complimented, so rest assured that this is a great way to introduce and continue a love for all things spinach-y!
Carrot, apple, raisin, ginger smoothie
2 medium carrots, washed and peeled if dirty, if not don't bother
1 medium apple, washed throughly if not organic... doesn't have to be peeled either
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon ginger root
( I also added a container of pureed organic green peas to this, because they were lying around uneaten and why not!?)
3-4 ice cubes
Add all ingredients to your blender, minus the ice cubes... Blend.
Add ice cubes, blend again..
Pour in cup... So here's the thing about this smoothie.. It tastes great, it's got zip from the ginger, which is also great for belly aches and helps aid in digestion, it's got raisins which is great for kids with pooping and constipation issues, it's got your apples and carrots (and peas), which a SUPER good for you and chock full of delicious vitamins.. I usually make a little extra because mommy and daddy like to drink this one too! It's also this awesomely vibrant orange color, which to little eyes is super appealing!