Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. ~The Koran
Getting kids to eat healthy is always a real challenge! When mine were in the baby food jar days and just tasting food for the first time they didn't know any better and ate anything they were given. But I know I went wrong when I, or family members, introduced them to sweets early on. Once they got a taste, that's all it took, no more plain veggies around here! And I can't really blame them, boiled, salted vegetables globbed down next to a flavorful entree' is truly unappetizing if you ask me. I know they're good for you and I myself have grown a taste for them, but I can't help remember hiding my veggies as a kid and gagging at some of them b/c of the potent stench, chewy, waxy exterior and awful flavor they left in my mouth. Now I feel I have to do better for my kids sake, I don't want to have to find dried up pieces of cauliflower and mixed veggies hiding around my house when I clean one day as my parents did. So here's hoping that getting creative in the kitchen will still get the boys, and Mike and I, the right amount of nutrients in a meal but not sacrifice on the taste.
Last year when Gavin was eating table food he entered the stage of the picky-eater. I had to make sure to put applesauce or purred fruit on his waffle instead of syrup, mix veggies in a casserole or soup so he wouldn't see them; trying to keep the sugar down and nutrients up. Then he really became the wiser and started to pick out the vegetables in the casserole and using his tongue he would swallow the broth and noodle but ultimately spit out the green bean or piece of corn in his spoonful of soup. I was at my whits end and started really worrying at his doctors appointments if the doctor would give me grief that he was only eating chicken nuggets, bread and applesauce all day, not like I wasn't trying. Of course I was recommended to use the Pediasure drinks for kids so he wouldn't be deficient in nutrients, as he was, and still is, too young to have actual vitamins.
To help me in this battle of the vegetables I armed myself with the cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, written by Jessica Seinfeld; Jerry Seinfeld's wife. I remember seeing her on Oprah a few years ago but I didn't see myself using her puree' techniques in my everyday cooking, well, that is until I started making my own baby food 2 years ago for Gavin. Her book relies on pureeing every and any veggie and 'sneaking' it into your everyday meals. From pureed butternut squash mixed into mac-n-cheese to purred cauliflower in an icing, you really cannot taste the difference and are adding nutrients into your meal you wouldn't be getting otherwise.
I remember when I first thought of the idea. I was pureeing some squash for Carter's meal that day at the same time I was trying to fix pancakes for Gavin and Mike one morning. I took about half a cup of squash and added it into the pancake mix and then added the house staple, applesauce. The pancakes turned out a little orange in color but looked like pancakes none the less. I served them for breakfast and then held my breath... both Mike and Gavin wolfed them down, no questions asked. I was relieved to find out that they tasted almost no different, still yummy but with a slightly firmer texture. I remember thinking if it's this easy I can't wait to try it in more things!
Now it's Carter's turn this year for strictly solid foods and so far he's been a champ, but I can tell that he's turning into that picky eater we all have inside us as a toddler, and just today he refused to eat his eggs, just like his big brother does from time to time.
After (of course the bread and strawberries are gone on both plates!)
I've mastered making desserts a 'good for you' food...
Yogurt and blueberrry smoothie pop
Sprucing up a vegetable's flavor or hiding it in another food all together...
Now it looks like I have to work on eggs as my next challenge; guess cheese and bacon bits aren't cutting it anymore...