by Alexis Deacon
Has your child refused to eat anything other than chicken nuggets and french fries for every meal? The daily frustration of having to deal with a picky eater can be overwhelming for both the parents and the child. Parents will prepare all kinds of sensible meals composed of what they think are healthy, appealing foods. Most of these offerings will end up splattering the high-chair tray and carpeting the floor. As said by Carol Bainbridge from About.com, children are picky eaters for two main reasons: they prefer sweet over bitter tastes and they are afraid of trying new things.
One of the hardest foods to incorporate into a child’s diet is vegetables. Children are naturally attracted to the taste of sweet food, so incorporating caramelized vegetables is a unique way to get them to try new things. This recipe below shows how you can take a colorful assortment of carrots and make them taste sweet and delicious.
- 1 lb (500 g) baby carrots, preferably a variety of colors
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1⁄2 tsp salt
- Peel the carrots and trim down the leafy tops but leave them whole.
- In a nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook, shaking the pan often to ensure they cook evenly, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the honey over the carrots, toss to coat evenly, and then continue to cook until just tender, 2–3 minutes longer.
- Season with the salt, transfer to a platter, and serve.
From The Supper Club by Susie Cover, Weldon Owen, 2011
According to Livestrong, as long as the child is growing and developing properly, temporary food aversions are not usually harmful. However, there are a few steps that you could take to increase your child’s intake of vegetables.
A recent research study found that serving fresh vegetables with condiments is a fun way to pique children’s interest, and this approach was effective in increasing children’s intake of vegetables they didn’t like! Make sure to use nutrient rich dips such as hummus or low-fat dip. You could also try this technique with fruit and yogurt. Children also like to be able to spread things on their food. Teach them how to use a table knife and spread their own butter or cheese on their choice of vegetable.
Serving smoothies for a snack is also a way to add vegetables to your child’s diet. This is a fun way to get your children involved in the food-making process, and may increase your child’s enjoyment of fruits and vegetables. Also, this will show them how vegetables can taste great by mixing them with a sweet fruit. Toddlers also enjoy toppings, so by allowing them to put their own strawberries or blueberries on top of their smoothie will broaden their menu.
Green Slime Smoothie
(Trust me, you or I might be turned off, but kids will LOVE the idea of eating slime!)
- 1 Banana, cut in chunks
- ½ Apple, cored and chopped or sliced
- 1 cup White Grapes
- 1 cup Fat-Free Vanilla Yogurt (or Plain Yogurt and ¼ teaspoon vanilla)
- 1-2 cups fresh Spinach Leaves
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth