The other night Mike told me that when his dad was a little boy, he convinced his mother that he was allergic to salad. I can remember chomping away on radishes from grampa’s garden as a little girl and loathing the sight of them a few years later [I now like them again]. I can also remember sitting at the kitchen table with my brother, staring at the cold red beets left on our dinner plates [We were instructed by mom that we could not leave the table until we ate those beets.]. I hated beets for a long time after that and they still aren’t my favorite, but I can handle them in a nice salad with goat cheese from time to time.
Right now Ava gobbles up everything I put into her spoon. She especially seems to love peas, butternut squash, and a sweet potato/apricot mix. After her next check-up, we will be able to expand her palate even further with World Baby Foods [I raved about these in a previous post]. Regardless of my efforts today, one day I will no doubt be giving Ava a lecture on why she needs to eat her vegetables. Children have finicky palates. They might love something one day and make gagging noises at it the next. The best advice? Don’t give up and don’t give in. Here are a few tips to help sneak those evil little plants into your little ones’ tummies.
Mix, mash, blend, bake, boil, chop, and grill. Experiment with the different textures and flavors by preparing vegetables in different ways.
Use familiar foods. Sneak veggies onto a pizza by putting them under the cheese. Add corn into your ground beef for tacos. Mash peas into mashed potatoes. You get the idea.
Make things fun by involving your child in food preparation. Sometimes kids are more likely to try something new if they helped make it. For younger tots, make eating veggies a game – for example, place salad ingredients into different bowls and let your child make a veggie face on his/her plate [shredded carrot hair, cherry tomato eyes, etc] and then gobble up the face!
Carrots, zucchini, sqaush, and even beets can be made into delicious, nutritious cupcakes.
Recipe for Beet Cupcakes from Straight from the Farm.
Recipe for Butternut Squash Cupcakes from Vanilla Garlic.
Alternatives to French Fries.
-Bake them instead of frying
-Try baked sweet potato fries [You can usually find them in a bag in the freezer section to make it hassle free. They go great with honey mustard or mayo!]
-Parsnip fries [Don’t knock ’em until you’ve tried ’em. They are packed with vitamins, folic acid and fiber and most importantly look just like “real” french fries. Toss with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pop in the oven for about 25 mins.]
There are tons of resources available these days [cookbooks, websites, blogs] dedicated to this subject so by all means, use them. Eventually [hopefully] this veggie hating phase will pass and there will be a new “I hate this” phase to deal with.
Have a sneak vegetable trick or recipe of your own? Post it as a comment!!