Sara came home from an exhausting day at work in the office. The phone had rung non-stop and her coworker had called in sick. She was so thankful that she had put the chicken and potatoes in the crock pot this morning before leaving. All she had to do was to steam the broccoli and serve. Her family would be eating a healthy meal in no time flat.
As a parent we want our children to eat healthy and we all have a limited amount of time and energy. Sara's energy was all but gone when her 9 year old son Jacob began fussing that he was NOT GOING TO EAT TREES. She coax him telling him that brocolli is not mini trees and how he would grow big and strong, only to be reminded that he was NOT GOING TO EAT TREES! Eventually, Sara gave in. She stacked the dirty dishes for later, including the one with the untouched broccoli and turned on the water for bath time.
Finding ways to get vegetables into our kids and avoid the arguments is one that many parents struggle with. A Dinner & Discussion group at A Taste Of Sofia’s in Seffner discussed this exact topic. Here are some of the favorites that were shared.
- Have the kids help in the kitchen
- Let them help to menu plan for the week and "paint the rainbow" - picking different colored vegetables for the meals thru out the week.
- Give them the color of the veggie for dinner (from painting the rainbow or not) and then let them pick between 2 choices. "Green is todays color. Should we have broccoli or spinach?"
- Take them to the farmers market to select the veggies for the home.
- Take them to you pick farms and let them help pick the food they will eat
- Take them to community gardens and let them help grow the food they will eat
Sometimes we are just too exhausted to include "helpers" in our kitchen or maybe the homework or sports keeps the kids too busy to help. Try these tricks to include more veggies without letting them know.
- Let them start the potatoes for mash potatoes - clean and if old enough even cutting the cubes. Fill the pot with water and let it boil. Tell them it will be a bit and give them something to do to distract them. While they are away - add in one head of cauliflower (chopped). When it is time to drain (that's a parent job for safety reasons) start the first couple of mashes then give the child to finish. Add butter, milk or whatever your family chooses. The kids never know that they ate their cauliflower.
- Another fav trick is to roast veggies in the oven at the same time. Blend the veggies to a fine puree, season and voila gravy for over the mash - and yes, we slid extra veggies in again.
- Here's a totally different way to get fresh and even raw veggies in. USE THE SUPER BLENDER. Kids count 6 ice cubes into the blender pitcher and enough water to cover the ice. Select 2 large kale leaves and have the kids pull down the sides of the rib to create pretty green ribbons. Add those to the pitcher. Now the fun begins. Add carrots, spinach, tomatoes, or whatever veggies you have. Then top off with favorite fruits like apples, strawberries, blueberries or even watermelon. Let the kids push the blend button and watch the magic begin. The kids will often love the juice (made by them). Have fun coming up with silly names for the drink as well.
- Want help doing this the first time? Kids need something to do over spring break from school? Stop by Sofia's on March 14th for a kids club juicing party doing just this activity. For only $10 Kids will be making and drinking real kid made Leprechaun Juice and eating pizza bites (made from cauliflower) and getting a tummy full of fruits and vegetables and having fun doing it. Don't worry - adults will get to sample the foods and bring recipes home to repeat at home as well.
Here's to our kids health.