Can you remember when you were a kid and your parents threatened to keep you at the table until you finished everything on your plate? Most adults remember those days all too well and now that they have little people of their own sitting at the table, they are tempted to do the very same thing. Unfortunately, if you remember back far enough, you’ll also remember that it was a major battle which would end in one of two ways.
Either you’d sit there until your parents got tired of waiting around to do the dishes and would grab your plate in exasperation or you’d be sent to your room with no dessert or television for the night. In either case, neither side really came out ahead. Why not learn from those ineffective methods of getting your kids to try vegetables? Here are three foolproof methods you can use. However, start when they are very young, or they’ll get wise to what you are doing!
1. Hide them in Meatballs
Over the years, you have become interested in organic gardening. You have a window box with fresh herbs available all year long and have learned how to grow your own greens, tomatoes, and peppers with tips you found on the My Gardening Network website. Unfortunately, your child won’t eat the greens but will eat the parsley you put in your meatballs. Some parents put the greens in their food processor and grind them to a literal pulp.
Then, use the greens in lieu of parsley and most kids will never know the difference. If they are small enough they won’t see what you are doing, and eventually, as they grow older, you can start introducing those greens as a salad or side dish. If they complain, tell them what you’ve been doing and invariably, they will at least take a bite or two.
2. Blend them into Smoothies
What kid doesn’t like a fruit smoothie? Yes, they will eat all the fruit you put in front of them, but the object of making a frozen smoothie is to slowly add fresh organic veggies from your garden. Can’t get them to eat greens? Put a few in their lime smoothie. Can’t get them to eat carrots or tomatoes? Add them to a strawberry smoothie.
If you have a juicer, all the better. Juice the greens and use only the juice in the smoothie. This way, they won’t see any of the little particles that didn’t puree small enough. It’s amazing what kids will try if they don’t know what you’ve added.
3. Presentation Is 90% of the Battle
Some parents have had great success by using fresh veggies to make artwork on the kids’ plates. For example, they start with a mound of mashed potatoes and use peas for the eyes, nose, and mouth. Shredded cooked cabbage or spiralized carrots can make lovely curly hair and so on. How’s that for a carrot-topped kid? The idea is to make it cute enough to get them more interested in the design than in what the design was made from.
Just remember, if you slow cook veggies at a low enough temperature, you will not be killing those all-important nutrients. Fresh from the garden to your table. The more fun you can make it for your kids, the easier it will be to get them to take that one bite of garden goodness.