Former President Bush (senior) hit the nail on the head when he proclaimed, “I am the President of the United States and I don’t have to eat my broccoli.” Mrs. Bush had the same issue with her son we have with our kids – getting them to eat their veggies. But where there is a will there is a way. These are a few secret strategies for getting our future presidents to eat a healthy diet…
I never had a lot of trouble eating vegetables because my family grew a huge garden. My father would sneak out to the garden with the salt shaker to sample fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini right off the vine. The rest of us raced to catch up with him the moment we noticed he had gone out the back door. Help you kids plant a small vegetable garden, even if you need to do it in clay pots on the patio. You will see a transformation when they learn how to grow and harvest their own food.
Mix Veggies into the Main Course
Try hiding vegetables in other dishes. For example, when meatloaf is on the menu, finely dice some onions, bell peppers, celery and carrots to add to the meat mixture. Chopped small enough they won’t notice much of a difference in texture.
Make a Yummy Side Dish for Breakfast
Give your kids veggies for breakfast. Instead of making scrambled eggs and bacon in the morning, make an omelet with sautéed red-skinned potatoes, diced broccoli, chopped ham and cheddar cheese. The flavor of the ham and cheddar disguises the broccoli, making it easy for kids to swallow.
Make Vegetables Fun to Eat
Serve veggies with fun food. You can chop up a variety of vegetables and use them to top up a pizza, stuff a burrito, an enchilada, a quesadilla or thread onto bamboo skewers. Try cutting up fresh veggies and serving them raw with their favorite dipping sauces. Food that looks and tastes interesting is far more palatable than a bowl of mushy, overcooked peas.
Use in Soups and Sauces
Add veggies to soups and sauces. If they can’t recognize it’s a vegetable they may be more amenable to eating it. Finely chop them in the food processor and add them to spaghetti sauce or other pasta dishes. Kids don’t seem to mind eating dishes with noodles, so take advantage. You can also try making cream soups with vegetables. You’ll have to puree the soup and hand them the parmesan cheese shaker when you serve it. Allowing you kids to participate in seasoning their food encourages them to eat their vegetables without a fuss.
More from this contributor:
10 Fabulous Indian Foods for Great Health
Pairing Wines with Vegetarian Food
Chili Worth Its Weight in Gold