C is for Cookie: How to Trick Kids into Eating Veggies

Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to Trick Kids into Eating Veggies


I'm of the opinion that sometimes it makes sense to trick people into doing something that's good for them, even if they say they don't like it. No, I'm not talking about putting chicken broth into a vegetarian's soup as my grandmother once did to my cousin, claiming "it's good for her." I'm talking about sneaking veggies into children's food in an attempt to get some real nutrients into their unsuspecting little white bread and sugar-loving mouths.

Any parent out there knows what I'm talking about. It's a fact that kids tend not to like the bitter taste that is associated with certain leafy green veggies. However, there are many mild-tasting, highly nutritious vegetables that kids would choose if those poor veggies had PR machines promoting them everywhere the way that candy and breakfast cereals do. Where's my beloved Green Giant when we need him? Boo hoo hoo.

I find that most people abhor change, especially to their routine. When it comes to food, it's important to work with what folks say they like, and simply make these things more nutritious. This certainly applies to the adult nutrition clients I work with and kids, too, prefer the familiar. So while we still want to encourage kids to try new things, it's often easier to get them to eat new vegetables by sneaking a veggie or two into their favourite foods. I call it Stealth Feeding. We all need a variety of foods to give our diets a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, so it's especially important for growing children to eat more than just their 8 or 10 familiar foods. Here are some suggestions for how you can slip veggies and legumes into your child's meal today! He won't know and it will be painless for both of you.

  • Steam and puree cauliflower and add it to milk, butter and some parmesan cheese to make "cheese sauce"
  • Steam and puree veggies like carrots, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, red peppers and add them to your favourite spaghetti sauce.
  • Do the above and add it to your chilis and stews
  • Puree beans and add them to soup to thicken it (chick peas a.k.a. garbanzo beans are good for this)
  • Use veggie ground round instead of ground beef in tacos, lasagna or spaghetti sauce (this is a good way to get organic tofu into your kids, which is a nice alternative to conventional meats)

    Other tricks:
  • I also find that you can serve kids Campbell's vegetable alphabet soup, because the kids look at the letters not the veggies! And Campbell's is one of the lowest in sodium.
  • If you can find a "low-in-fat" dip your kids like, you can serve it to them with their favourite veggies using the "gosh we're all out of crackers" excuse. Mild veggies to try are of course carrot sticks, light green bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, sugar snap peas, snow peas, celery sticks for older kids.
  • Have a make-your-own-pizza night and cut up a variety of meats, cheeses and veggies such as peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, artichoke hearts, etc. Have your child make his own pizza and encourage him to add vegetables. If they make the food, they will be happy to eat it.

    Let me know your suggestions, too, please!

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  • 1 Comments:

    At 8:24 AM , Blogger Vincenzo said...

    What a nice blog, let me say that you have what some people call: ''writer's wood'', no really,
    this could be the best thing i've ever read since that last post of ''Tabasco's Grill'' by Henry Townsend, i can't wait
    for another masterpiece of yours!!!! =)

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    Vincenzo Aquafresca (vincenzoaquafresca@gmail.com)
    4853 Tully Street
    Dearborn, MI 48126

     

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