September is Eat More Fruit and Veggies month. Why does there seem to such a love-hate relationship between kids and vegetables (well, perhaps not all kids but many)? Whatever the reason, we all know their growing bodies and brains need the nutrients locked inside. There’s a heap of research highlighting the benefits of a plant-based diet for a developing child. So, how can you get your kids to eat their green vegetables?
Introducing new foods to kids when they are young is one way to get them to eat their greens. Their palate is clean and ready to accept new foods. They will learn how vegetables are supposed to taste and choose the ones they like. Resist the urge to smother them with butter, salt or garlic; instead, let the natural flavour come through. Having said that, my son only fell in love with broccoli when he discovered it with garlic sprinkled on top!
If your children haven’t developed a love for greens, you may have to be a little covert with your veggie operation.
1. Hide diced or whizzed down vegetables within sauces. Add them to soups, stews and even spaghetti sauce. You can hide a bevy of good things in them.
2. Double the vegetables in foods they normally eat. Let’s take a hamburger, for instance. Homemade burgers are the best. Kids who don’t eat a lot of veggies will put them on their burger. This is your opportunity to smuggle a few more greens in; if they usually take one piece of lettuce, add two. Vary your types of lettuce, so they get a variety of tastes: romaine, iceberg, rocket, spinach leaves, and even mixed greens.
3. Add a salad to your meals. Serve the salad while the kids are waiting for the main course. The hope is that when they are truly hungry they will dive right in. Get them to help with the salad preparation. It gives them a chance to create a salad they will like or to create a face or an imaginary character out of a salad. Offer a smorgasbord of add-ins including green things like cucumber, lettuces, beans (edamame, peas) and green peppers and see what they come up!
You could also get them to help you make your own dressing (experiment with different flavours and ingredients such as olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, lemon juice etc.).
4. Offer veggies and dip for snacks. Again, get the kids involved in helping you make hummus or guacamole, for example. Instead of serving popcorn with your favorite movie, try a platter of veggies and great-tasting dip. Kids love to dip things so give them each a small bowl of their favorite dip.
5. And if all else fails, and they are just not biting consider greens powders. I especially love the Nuzest range, Good Green Stuff, which they do alongside their range of fruit and veg smoothies! Otherwise, a good option is a multivitamin powder Designs for Health that I add to water or juice. You can buy both these products at IMI. These are great to boost immunity at the beginning of the school year too.
We’ve got a great greens-packed recipe that we know kids will like. At the recent Kidsfest event, we made a one-pot pasta dish with the kids. They had great fun cooking it and, judging by their clean plates, they loved it too!
We hope your family enjoys it too!
One Pot Green Veggie Pasta