Make Fruits and Veggies Fun
Inspiring kids to eat their vegetables seems to be one of those resounding narratives of parenthood.
Three simple steps help:
The later is a clear favorite among the short people at our house! It's common knowledge that, especially young children, learn through play. So in teaching our children to eat properly, we need to pick up on this theme. Presenting food playfully appeals to children's imaginations and opens them up to culinary experiences they might otherwise resist.
Kids Take Over the Kitchen Challenge
It was this theme that the kids picked up on in response to the Better Together Kids Take Over the Kitchen Challenge. Since being inspired by Mollie Katzen's Salad People and More Real Recipes - a children's cookbook that features salad pictures as a kid-favorite - a gallery of food-art has graced our children's plates. I've watched them venture into unchartered territory, trying radishes, turnips and mushrooms!
For the Better Together Challenge, the kids went back to the basics and made salad people for their Dad and I. The menu also included blueberry smoothie, served in wine glasses with straws. Classic.
The Big Surprise
The challenge, which is open until March 24th, is to let your kids loose in the kitchen. I'm not sure that they were supposed to cook for us, but that's where they went with it and I wasn't going to argue. Instead I offered my sous-chef services and dutifully chopped, diced or otherwise assisted with their preparation. It was beautiful to watch the kids working with the hushed excitement of children planning a superb surprise. Big brother helped little sister. Little sister made sure to include baby brother. We all pretended I didn't know what they were doing!
It took all my self-restraint not to command bare feet off the counter when my daughter climbed up to reach the wine glasses. And I bit my tongue hard not to intervene with a better way - a less-mess way - to grate carrots. But in the end it was worth it. They were beaming ear to ear and bouncing to contain their overwhelming excitement, when they called their Dad upstairs and invited him to lunch!
Salad People (adapted from Mollie Katzen)
- An assortment of fruits and vegetables
- Dried Fruit
- Nuts or Seeds
- Cold Pasta if you have some on hand
- Hummus, Yogurt or other dip
- Chop fruits and vegetables into various shapes and sizes.
- Arrange into pictures on plates.
Blueberry Smoothie (per Asher Paglaro, Age 6)
- 2 scoops Frozen Blueberries
- 1 Banana
- 1 Scoop Plain Yogurt
- Apple Juice to cover everything
- 1 spoon Ground Flax Seeds
- 1 squish Agave a syrup (for special treat smoothies, he whispered loudly to his sister)
*Note: 1 scoop = 1 cup. 1 spoon = 1 tbsp
- Put everything in the blender.