Vegetables and Kids: The Struggle Continues
Every kid knows that eating his vegetables will help him grow up big and strong. This argument, used by parents everywhere, is often not persuasive enough to encourage picky young diners to consume their daily dose of veggies. Hidden in napkins, fed to the family pet, or simply met with flat out refusal: vegetables are truly the unappreciated underdog of the food pyramid.
With that in mind, here are some helpful tips for those moms and dads engaged in the daily battle to keep their children healthy:
Choose colorful vegetables
It’s a well-known fact that children are attracted to bright colors. As if being full of anti-oxidants and vitamins weren’t enough, brightly colored vegetables have the added benefit of tasting sweeter than their green and white counterparts. So if your child turns his nose up at broccoli, try sweet corn, carrots, or bell peppers instead. These tasty veggies come in a variety of colors and provide great nutrition.
Make food interesting
By involving children in the preparation of meals, parents can allow their kids to take an active role in looking after their own nutrition while investing them in the end result. Mashed potatoes may never have held much interest before, but being allowed to add the milk or use the potato masher a few times might add a whole new excitement to the eating experience for a vegetable-resistant kid. Even simple things like pouring baby carrots into a bowl or arranging veggies into a happy face before sitting down to eat them can increase children’s interest in eating their vegetables.
Go for a dip
It may seem simple, but finding a veggie dip that your kids like could be the answer to all of your vegetable woes. There are many kinds of healthy dips and spreads on the market in a variety of flavors and textures that may appeal to your picky eater. If one doesn’t work, keep trying! You’re bound to find the right dip for your child eventually.
Hiding vegetables in food
When all else fails, hide. Hiding vegetables in food is a tried and true method of increasing children’s vegetable intake. Using a food processor to grind vegetables up into a paste that can be added to pasta sauces, soups and breads is one sneaky way of getting more veggies into your kids’ diets. Now parents even have extra help in this vegetable-concealing campaign from juice manufacturers. Many juice companies have recognized the need for added nutrition in their products and are now making their fruit juices with vegetable blends. Choose one of these veggie-enhanced juices next time you’re in the market for fruit juice.
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Hopefully one of these suggestions will work for you and your efforts to increase the health of your child’s diet will pay off. Here’s a great recipe for Zucchini Bread, which you can rename Snack Bread for your child’s benefit, to help you get started.
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
Optional: raisins and or chopped nuts.
Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the eggs well in a large bowl. Next, beat in the sugar slowly, followed by the oil and vanilla. With a large spoon, stir in the zucchini and lemon zest. Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl then slowly fold them into the wet ingredients. Add half a cup of raisins or nuts if desired. Preheat the oven to 350°.Grease 2 8 x 4-inch pans and pour the batter in evenly. Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the bread from the pans after baking.
2011 Moira G Gallaga©