Everyone has probably read lots of articles in lots of magazines regarding how to get your children to eat their dinner, and especially their vegetables. And I think a lot of parents, in an effort to get their kids to eat more vegetables, will make a side of plain steamed broccoli to go with dinner, or put a handful of raw baby carrots on the plate next to a sandwich, and then wonder why their kids aren’t eating their veggies . The reason is that most people, regardless of age, are just not that fond of plain veggies. I think it really comes down to one simple thing- if it tastes really great, kids will eat it and love it - just like adults.
I have always been extremely excited about food and cooking and so it’s never been difficult for me to come up with both interesting and delicious recipes that my whole family enjoys- but I understand that cooking is not everyone’s passion, and yet they still would like their families to eat healthy, nutritious meals.
There are a few simple things that everyone can do that do not require an enormous amount of effort or time or extra cooking skills. It’s all about incorporating vegetables into meals you already make and love.
For instance, when I make taco or enchilada filling, instead of just chicken or beef, I make a mix with bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, and onion - there’s four vegetables - and you also have tastier tacos! Then I serve with guacamole and beans, and there’s two more healthy items you’ve added to your plate with out even trying, and a more balanced meal as well.
One of my children’s favorite pasta dishes is when I take a jar of our homemade sauce from the freezer- it could be tomato, tomato cream, or meat sauce- and add whatever leftover vegetables we happen to have in the fridge that day- peas, carrots and broccoli generally- and cubes of mozzarella cheese that melt in and get all gooey with the pasta. Counting the tomatoes already in the sauce, that’s four vegetables total and if your kids are anything like mine, they will go crazy for it! And you’ve used up leftovers, and all of this has taken you approximately ten minutes to put together on a busy weeknight!
Lastly, I make a lot of one pot dinners,or stews, that are comprised of either chicken, pork or beef, a huge assortment of vegetables and a really great sauce- all served over yummy buttered noodles - which my kids say are just not the same without the parsley - as opposed to most children not liking the “green stuff” - but I believe that’s a whole other topic for a whole other day!
( For family friendly, kid approved meals, please check out the recipe section of windywillowfarm.net )