Welcome to Kira's Blog

Welcome to My Blog

Life with young children can be challenging, but with the support and advice of friends, we can feel empowered and thankful for the blessing of being a Mom.

My musings are those of a self-proclaimed attachment-parenting Tiger mom, who juggles full-time mommying with a small (but growing!) baby-related business. I hope some of my thoughts help you
Enjoy your day, Enjoy your night, and Enjoy your kids!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Veggie Ideas

I firmly believe that a key to raising healthy eaters is by choosing to fight the veggie battle. Some people feel it's not worth the constant argument, but in my opinion - it is. Children need to be comfortable eating vegetables. Period. Maybe a specific vegetable in a particular style isn't worth the fight, but the general idea of vegetables in his diet is. I'll blog a bit more on how I think it relates to obesity, but for now, here are some ideas on how to encourage your child(ren) to eat vegetables:

-have bite-sized cut veggies available at EVERY meal (i.e. even breakfast!) Some examples: cucumbers, grape-tomatoes, peppers (green, red, etc.), carrots, celery, radishes, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower. NOTE: PREPARATION TAKES TIME. Vegetables are actually quite a bit of work to clean and cut, but it's worth it! Plan ahead - if you know you won't have time right before the meal, prepare the night or morning before and store in a container. If you only offer vegetables once or twice a week, children can easily pass, but if it's in constant view, then at some point in the meal (if not this one, then the next) his curiosity or hunger will take over and he'll try out some vegetables.

-Just like adults, some children prefer if the veggies have some added flavor. Try dips and sauces, like ranch dressing, italian drizzle, sesame-ginger or a yogurt-dill dip. Be creative!

-If your child is already averse to vegetables, put out the dish of veggies FIRST, before the meal and give him a few minutes to sit and wait patiently for the rest of his meal. Do this every day for a few days, with different vegetable options, and one day he'll likely go for one or more of the vegetables, if he's truly hungry.

-just like adults, many children enjoy stir-fry. Make it flavorful with teriyaki or soy sauce, and know that it's always yummier with a base of fried onion & garlic.

-some children enjoy souffles and quiches or different veggie-breads & crackers. Again, be creative and plan ahead. It's worth the effort.

I'm not a big proponent of hidden vegetables, since I believe it's important for the child to be aware of eating healthy, but for those particularly challenging eaters:

-it's easy to "sneak" healthy veggies into popular dishes: macaroni & cheese with a bit of pureed carrot & cauliflower in the cheese sauce, scrambled eggs with spinach or zucchini puree,
hamburgers made with mushrooms and some greens inside (i.e. make-your-own burgers by mixing veggies in the chopped meat), and of course pasta with sauce can have all kinds of pureed vegetables hidden inside.

-for those particularly finicky kids, I highly recommend a puree wand to make it easier to sneak in the veggies. They are very easy to use and will be a big help. If the child cannot see to pick out the greens from the rest of the mix, s/he will be more likely to just dig in and eat.

Lastly, the most important principle in encouraging good veggie-eating: set a good example. Eat a lot of vegetables yourself. Do an inventory: how many vegetables do YOU eat each day? Does your child see YOU eating fresh greens and salads? If you have a very veggie-averse child, keep a log of your own eating habits and take a look in the mirror. It's quite possible you have not set as good an example as you should. Be objective. Be truthful. Children will follow your lead more than anyone else in the world, so do yourself a favor and make sure you are guiding him down the right path in terms of eating healthfully. It is possibly the greatest gift you can give him & a major factor in ensuring he lives a long and healthy life.

2 comments:

  1. Exercise will be in another blog - thanks for reminding me! -Kira

    ReplyDelete