Sometimes it’s about power.
I was enjoying a meal with some friends with their little boy sitting next to me. I feared that this might be a problem but he was mercifully, very well behaved.
Seeing that he was toying with his food and not scoffing it as I was, I gently and humorously helped him to eat his meal. His parents were in awe because they have so much trouble with getting him to eat.
Why did I find it easy? – simple, I had no emotional baggage with the child. There was no power struggle and really I could not care less if he did not eat his dinner.
Children have to explore boundaries and what they can and cannot do. Eating is a big part of that and luckily they usually pass through that with no particular problems, other than turning their parents hair grey.
Sometimes it’s about taste.
I hated greens when I was small. It all tasted too strong and too bitter and I had to eat them but O boy I avoided cabbage and most greens when I got older.
Instead I chose broccoli, Brussels sprouts and other greens that we rarely or never eat at home.
So What Can a Crafty Cook Do?
Although a large number of kids do not eat enough vegetables research has shown nearly all of them are able to name a favourite vegetable.
In younger children this was often the Mother’s favourite too.
The top 6 Vegetables For Kids were found to be
- Corn 32% which is the favourite for boys
- Broccoli 29.4 % the favourite for girls
- Carrots 23.2 %
- Green Beans 17.2 %
- Potatoes 11.8 %
- Tomatoes 11.4 %
Starting from the child’s favourite veggie and using it more often and in more meals is one way to build a healthy habit of eating more vegetables.
Another devious way forward is to hide the vegetables. No I don’t mean just pop a vegetable under pile of spaghetti but to puree the veggies. This is a good strategy for younger children.
Of course using greens and other veggies in a Green drink or smoothie is a great and healthy way to help children get the nutrition they need to grow and stay healthy without battles.
So I’d love to hear of your experience of introducing and cooking vegetables for kids and what worked for you. Was it with soups or salads or some other sneaky way? Do tell your best way of preparing vegetables for kids!
Photo Credit USDAgov