Whether at your doctor, the dietician clinic, in health awareness ads, books and magazines or through Michelle Obama’s inspiring anti-obesity campaign, you’ve probably been lectured one way or another about the importance of “getting your kids to eat their veggies!” Still, many kids have little or no interest in eating vegetables and therefore lack essential nutrients in their diet. Here are my TOP 5 TIPS on making sure you get your child on the right veggie-track:
- Start early because your kid’s food preferences are like pottery and become harder to change as they solidify with time.
- Be consistent and proactive in making sure that you offer your kid healthy choices and avoiding that your precious little one develops a picky-eater habit.
- Make this a family project by setting a good example and making sure that any brothers and/or sisters are setting a good example as well. Kids love emulating their parents and siblings.
- Make food time fun by letting your kid count his peas, learn how to say the color of a carrot, the texture of a spongy eggplant (yes a raw eggplant!) and laugh at the bizarre new taste of a lemon!
- Give your kid some autonomy with the veggies! Kids love to discover things on their own and can develop an aversion to things when they are forced upon them. So as the choking hazard dissipates, let your kid enjoy some healthy veggie food finger choices: Fava beans, chickpeas, celery, cucumber and red pepper sticks, cherry tomatoes and steamed Brussels sprouts (cut in halves), steamed broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus…
You’ll be surprised how moldable kids are at an early age! In no time, they’ll be looking for the spinach in their plate and snacking on celery!
My 2-year-old daughter loves the sweet-ish nutty taste and tender texture of edamame. Many think of edamame simply as a bean appetizer at their favorite Japanese restaurant but their benefits far surpass this occasional treat. Edamame soy beans are usually sold in frozen packages in most grocery stores and make a great addition to one’s diet either as a snack, an ingredient in stir-fried or sautéed dishes or in a soup. They have the veggie baggage (rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) boosted with rich protein content making them a meat substitute and also contain a small amount of unsaturated fat (the good type of fat). My daughter usually enjoys them as a snack but when there is no cooked meal in sight, I throw a bunch of steamed edemame in a plate, coupled with some cubes of cheddar cheese and some cherry tomatoes and Voilà! Lunch is ready!