WE TRIED IT AGAIN. The pasta cups are back and this time, just as I
threatenedpromised, I added broccoli and ricotta cheese, trying for a bit of a quiche flavor. Speaking of flavor, I also added herbs, fresh parsley and basil. I thought they’d look festive and pack a bit of punch too. Also, the pan didn’t fall apart this time, which was a plus. [Read more...]
IT’S THE TAIL END OF PLUM SEASON IN ROME. With so many to eat in so little time (namely, before a fruit fly colony invades our kitchen) plums got upgraded from snack item to dessert to dinner. These sweet little beauties are a great source of fiber plus vitamins C, A and K. To be honest I don’t know much about vitamin K but perhaps its the unsung hero of the vitamin world and if so, we’re all set because we’ve been eating a lot of plums around here! [Read more...]
LET IT BE SAID THAT COOKING WITH FOUR KIDS under three is
crazy ill advised. A fact, now burned clearly into my brain, was somehow unknown when I went into this project last week. A fellow ex-pat brought her toddler and baby over for some pint-sized baking at my suggestion. Along with my own toddler and baby, this was somewhere between two and four too many babies. But alas, cook we did.
One of the afternoon’s funniest moments came right at the beginning.
IT’S SUCH AN EASY IDEA, and a good one. Like Mrs. Seinfeld says in her book, Deceptively Delicious, adding veggies on the sly is the simplest way to pack in nutrition without a fight. From brownies to breakfast bars, it’s a smart strategy but that’s just the beginning. I’ve started stocking our fridge with a few vegetable blends ready to throw in anything.
- White beans with a splash of water are an easy addition to things like tuna sandwiches or any baked casserole
- Spinach pureed with enough water to keep things liquified get tossed into smoothies (thanks Tricia for this idea!)
- Frozen mixed vegetables thawed and blended made the perfect addition to any pasta sauce or soup (thanks to Regan for this one!)
IF YOUR KIDS ARE LEMON-LOVERS like Phoebe, this method is brilliant. During a recent lunch in Puglia, we were presented with the “vegetable of the day” which turned out to be grilled zucchini. Unfortunately zucchini is a food that’s usually spit out. But not today.
HOW TO GET YOUR TODDLER TO EAT MORE VEGGIES: pull up a chair, stool or other propping device and let her help you prepare dinner. Phoebe particularly likes “organizing” her ingredients so I give her a little bowl and a wooden spoon. Things go in the bowl, things go out of the bowl, things fall on the floor…but here’s where it works. If I happen to be chopping broccoli, cauliflower, even carrots (a known reject these days) she’ll happily pop a few bites in her mouth along the way. Something about the distraction of cooking, plus the fun of getting to try it outside of the dinner table seems to sweeten the deal. Frozen peas are something of a double edged sword though; I’m happy that she wants to eat peas but I’ve never seen someone eat so many frozen peas. Actually I’ve never seen anyone eat a frozen pea so the record was hardly difficult to beat but still…
An expanded idea from a previous post: 7 Ways to Get Toddlers To Eat More Vegetables >>
How about eating some veggies?
I’M PRETTY SURE THAT getting kids to eat more veggies has been a struggle since the advent of dinner itself. So when Marie submitted her question–I’d love to get my son Lex (2 years, 2 months) to eat more green foods — broccoli, zucchini, peas, maybe even attempt a salad someday? I’d love any and all help in that department!–I thought about what works here (sometimes) and wondered if it could help there. Here goes.
- Keep your expectations low. Settle for a bite or two until he develops more of a taste for these things. As you know with kids this age, everything comes and goes and that includes different foods.
- Try the oldest trick in the parental book: bribery. We give Phoebe a bite of something she prefers, say, banana, after each bite of zucchini (or chicken, or carrots, or really anything other than pizza and pasta…)
- Let him help you prep the veggies in the kitchen. His curiosity may come in handy. I usually give Phoebe a bowl and mixing spoon of her own but regardless of her setup, she eats more veggies standing on top of her stool at the kitchen counter than she ever does at the table.
- Eat your veggies too. Kids love to emulate their parents so eat your greens too, and don’t hesitate to tell him how much you’re enjoying everything. Sometimes we make a little game out of it too by taking a bite together. Phoebe gets a kick out of doing the same thing at the same time as Mom.
- Be cool. Nothing is a bigger deterrent to something already unappealing than someone shrieking about “just one bite!” I usually tell Phoebe that she doesn’t have to eat the asparagus. That’s fine with me. But if she wants the banana (see number two), it’s going to take two bites. Up to her. And follow through. No greens, no treat.
- Grind them up and add them everywhere. This is a trick I learned back in our baby food days. I actually keep a bag of frozen mixed vegetables (organic if you can find it) on hand and I throw a cup or two into anything with big flavor of its own, like spaghetti sauce. For a more discrete addition, grind it up and add as much as you can get away with. This works for stuff like macaroni and cheese. In fact, The Sneaky Chef has tons of these tricks to add nutrition. We’re experimenting now and so far it’s working well. (Brainy Brownies are next.)
- For older kids, try a sticker system. Every time he eats a bite of veggies, he gets a sticker. Once he reaches a pre-designated number like ten, he gets a small reward. A toy, a trip to the park, etc. Just keep the magnitude of these rewards doable on an ongoing basis.
This is what we’ve discovered so far. What else works?