In many households dinnertime is ideally a relaxing occasion for the family. This is a time when they can come together to discuss their day over a good meal with your loved ones being the best of company. In some households though, dinner with young children around the table can be another day’s task, attempting to sway your picky eaters to voluntarily eat their fruits and veggies necessary to help make them strong and healthy.
Cooking for kids over the last 10 years I’ve come up with a few tricks on how to make fruits and veggies fun and exciting for kids.
I have learned that youngsters who have a more direct connection to their food respond better to eating all those vital ingredients. With that in mind we booked a day trip to a local farm where the kids could walk the land and tour the different lots where many vegetables and fruits are being grown. We got an explanation on their growing process and we were able to pick our own veggies and herbs right from the ground! Afterwards the kids assisted in making a wonderful meal from those handpicked goods, they were so excited to have been a part of the process there wasn’t an ounce of struggle in cleaning their plates. In order to continue the excitement of their first hand involvement in our dinner making, we started a small garden of our own. We planted some easy to grow vegetables and herbs and took time to tend to it with the kids almost daily. Their care and enthusiasm for the garden generated interest and eagerness for our meals. By the time the garden was ready for picking, the joy of eating what their hard work had created made it impossible to stop them from eating an entire plate of spinach even if we tried.
If growing a garden is out of reach for your home, there are still a few good tricks on how to covertly incorporate fruits and veggies into your meals.
I started making fresh fruit popsicles, just blend a few fruits together with some orange juice and honey and freeze in a popsicle mold to serve for dessert.
Another good, easy to make dessert is taking peeled and sliced mixed fruits and freezing them. Once frozen, put them into the meat grinder; they come out with the same texture as frozen yogurt but with no added sugar or stabilizers.
Veggie pastes are easy to make and can be incorporated into sauces and pasta dishes as desired. Simply steam or cook them in water, grind and season and they are ready to go.
One more important factor to consider when preparing any dish for your little one is the visual aspect; colors, shapes and fun plating can go a long way. I bought some colorful, fun plates in different shapes and sizes and made every meal slightly interactive for them. Plating their food as a drawing or a fun shape they can relate to makes a big difference, a super hero they like or a simple smiley face worked for me.
So next time you are having a difficult time feeding your child, give one of these methods a try and see how it works for you. For more helpful tips feel free to contact me directly; enjoy!