Monday, September 26, 2011

Kids and Fresh Vegetables

Eat your vegetables! Every Mom in the world has said that more than one time. So how do you get your family and kids to fill up on those fresh and fabulous vegetables?

Sometimes it is as easy as finding out how to properly cook those vegetables to maximize flavor a value. I am currently living in the Deep South, and so many times find the vegetables here are cooked to death and swimming in grease...goodbye food value, and actually goodbye fresh, delightful flavor.

Sometimes people have actually formed an opinion about a vegetable they haven't even tasted yet. My little 95-year-old friend told me she didn't like broccoli. Come to find out, she had never even tasted it!

You may find that children frequently like raw vegetables with a "dip" on the side. Most young children enjoy finger foods and are fascinated with dipping them into a tasty sauce. Try mixing Greek yogurt mixed with Ranch Dressing Mix...for example.

I actually introduced my children to vegetables of all types when they were still on baby cereal. I would make a vegetarian vegetable soup using fresh vegetables, puree it and add it to their cereal rather than a result, all my children and grandchildren love vegetables. Early introduction is key.

For those who haven't had the benefit of early veggie eating, I have found many ways to "trick" them into eating great veggies. Most kids love mashed potatoes, so why not cook cauliflower to the point of being soft, add milk and butter and mash just like mashed will find they love them. Another way I have gotten children to eat fresh summer squash is to cook sliced summer squash with diced onions and diced potatoes in equal amounts and again, mash and add butter and seasonings. Calling this mixture "smoosh" gave it a new name, new texture and again they ate it up!

Shredding carrots or zucchini and adding to meatloaf will slip a serving or more of fresh vegetables into those picky little eaters. Many kids will eat carrot salad made simply with finely shredded carrots, raisins and crushed pineapple mixed in...if the carrots aren't really sweet, add a little Stevia (Truvia is my brand of choice) and watch them think of those carrots in a whole other light. I have also published a recipe in previous blogs for pumpkin casserole and carrot soup which have been proven hits with kids.

So, experiment. Try new ways to prepare those wonderful vegetables. Start early introducing new foods, and you will be rewarded with healthy, vegetable eating children.

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