Wholesome Child : Fussy Eaters Preview AU
113 112 113 initial rejection. Their little tastebuds are forever changing, so what is not eaten today might become a firm favourite in the future. With older children, learn to hide your exasperation. Instead, play it cool and focus on being a role model during family dinners. When your child sees you snacking on baby carrots or having a salad day after day, it may not be too long before a little hand reaches in there to swipe some for themselves. 2. MAKE SALAD AND VEGETABLES READILY AVAILABLE Put the bowl and serving dishes onto the dinner table and supply tongs so that children can easily serve themselves. Good habits start young, so even if your child refuses to touch a vegetable, it’s important to train them to expect a salad and serve of cooked vegetables at each meal. Dressing salad with healthy options, such as olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or one of our delicious salad dressings can entice children to try it. 3. USE YOUR IMAGINATION When my kids were going through a particularly fussy stage with broccoli, one day I got up on a table and started doing a crazy dance each time they took a bite of their broccoli. It worked! They were both laughing so hard they forgot about the fact that they didn’t like the taste. A green bean becomes a wriggly worm, a piece of cauliflower is a cloud and a carrot is a snowman’s nose. 4. VISIT A COMMUNITY GARDEN OR START YOUR OWN VEGGIE PATCH You don’t have to have a huge plot of land to have a vegetable garden. You can grow veggies or herbs in pots on the kitchen windowsill, patio or on a balcony. Include your kids every step of the way, from choosing what to grow, to packing the soil, watering, weeding and of course, picking. The more they’re involved, the more they’ll enjoy it and keep helping... and eating. DO... DON’T... ensure that the emotional environment at mealtimes is pleasant. Simply give your child their vegetables and act as if you don’t mind whether they eat them or not. get into a power struggle over veggies (no commands, orders, threats, punishments, bribes). As soon as you let go of the power struggle, children may become more willing to try new veggies – because they have nothing to gain by refusing it. praise your child for trying small amounts of new veggies. Over time continuing to do this will lead to familiarity with the new vegetables and a greater desire to eat them. introduce new foods in a coercive way, or use threats, and never force your child to eat large quantities of new foods. try offering them vegetables cut into fun shapes, laid out in colour patterns, steamed rather than raw. For older children, using star charts is a good way to get them to try a new vegetable. use food, especially dessert or treats, as a reward. discuss the health benefits of eating vegetables with older children in a fun and engaging way. lecture your children about the healthy benefits of vegetables without speaking about the fact that they are delicious too. let your child decide whether you’ll have green beans or broccoli. Simple choices will help him feel a sense of control. dictate the menu. Offer choices, for example: Would you like your sweet potato mashed, baked or cut into chips? make eating veggies fun. Try making a veggie face (like cucumber eyes, tomato nose, green bean mouth, and shredded carrot hair). Toddlers also love dipping, so try serving veggies with yogurt. take it personally when the vegetables you have lovingly prepared are picked at or passed over entirely. keep veggies in plain view in the fridge or pantry. What the eyes see the tummy wants. force a child to eat when they are genuinely not hungry. Look over the day...did they have a big afternoon tea? What did they eat at their grandmother’s house? Was there a birthday party at kindy? 1Ifyourchildonlylikesone vegetable such as carrots or potatoes, you can try pureeing similar coloured veggies and add them in as small quantities. For example, sweet potato and carrot, cauliflower and potato, broccoli and zucchini, mashed potato and parsnip, or parsnip chips added to potato chips. 2Ifyourchildwillonlyeatsweet foods, bake vegetables in a honey sauce. Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, parsnip, or zucchini drizzled with raw honey and extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of cinnamon may be more palatable. Or put a drizzle of maple syrup into the water if you’re boiling vegetables. 3Usethenutrient-packed water from steamed or boiled vegetables, to water down fruit juice, or add to other dishes. 4Ifyourchildlovesburgersit’s easy to add vegetables to beef or chicken patties, or try lentil burgers. The same goes for bolognaise sauce, pasta sauce or meatballs (see our recipe on page 155). 5Veggiestocksareanabsolute powerhouse of nutrients (see recipe on page 277). Cook up an assortment of veggies, including leek, carrots, onion, parsley and bay leaves and add to any food you’re cooking. You can even boil pasta or rice in the veggie stock. Avoid stock cubes where possible, as they contain preservatives, sugar and excess salt. Instead, freeze homemade vegetable stock into cubes to use at a later stage. 6Homemadesauceslikehummus, tzatziki, babaghanoush (made with eggplant), sweet pepper relish, tomato sauce, broccoli cheese sauce and pesto sauce are all a great way to boost your child’s veggie intake. The list is endless. If your child is used to processed sauces, use a 1:3 ratio and slowly reduce the amount of processed sauce. See our delicious dips in Steps 5 and 8. 7Experimentwiththinlysliced sweet potato, parsnip, beetroot and butternut tossed in extra virgin olive oil and roasted to make homemade oven chips. 8Addvegetablestosmoothiestoo. Use yoghurt as the base and add 1 banana, the juice of half an orange, frozen blueberries, raw spinach or kale, capsicum or carrot, and any of the following cooked and cooled vegetables: baked pumpkin, baked zucchini, or beetroot. You will need to experiment with sweetness. To start, use sweeter veggies like pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato, then experiment with green veggies like celery and spinach. Freeze leftovers in ice trays or popsicle moulds. See our smoothie recipes on page 225. Eight Veggie Tricks There is nothing wrong with bumping up recipes with hidden veggies, as long as you offer these same veggies to your child in their raw state too. The bottom line is you can never have too many veggies in a child’s diet. Going over the recommended five veggie serves a day is nothing but beneficial. And disguising vegetables becomes appropriate if a child is going through a fussy eating stage that is making it impossible for them to reach even half of their recommended daily veggie intake. However, it’s always best to involve your child in the process of adding veggies to their food. Prepare a choc muffin with added zucchini, and see the surprise on their face when they realise it tastes really good! Work within the framework of your child’s favourite foods. If he loves pancakes or pikelets, make them with pumpkin and sweet potato puree, if he loves pasta make your own pasta sauce and puree peas, onions, garlic and zucchini into it. Veggies can be added into muffins (see recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins on page 127) or biscuits too. tip If you’re out of the baby phase and don’t have time to make your own vegetable purees keep a few bottles of organic baby food handy to add into recipes.
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