Fool-Proof Ways to Prepare Delicious Veggies For Your Family
There is a misunderstanding that I think we as moms have (unfortunately) come to accept, and that is: “kids don’t like to eat vegetables.” It’s too easy to get stuck in a rut or mind frame that our children will fight us through a meal in order to avoid having to put something green on their plate.
If you’re reading this, know that you are one of the parents that can be part of the changing of the tide. And if you are enjoying Kashi foods, then you already recognize that nutritious, wholesome foods like colorful veggies, whole grain cereals and snack bars with all natural ingredients can taste great, too. While it may be easier to get our kids to enjoy a bowl of Kashi® Cinnamon Harvest® organic cereal for breakfast in the morning, I want you to realize that a cucumber salad can become a loved snack by kids as well. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when planning meals and snacks for your young ones:
Don’t Ask, Just Offer
One of the first ways to get our kids to eat better is by using the “don’t ask” approach. When you get home with the kids after school—and they’re at the peak of hunger—and you ask, “Would you like some carrot sticks?”, you’ll most likely hear: “No! Can I have a cookie or some chips?” However, if you have cut-up veggies ready to go and put them out on a platter with some hummus or a high-protein yogurt dipping sauce, you’ll see them disappear.
Presentation Really Makes a Difference!
Food color and presentation make a big impact on kids as well. To make a veggie plate seem more enticing, add breakfast radishes (not spicy; they are pink, red and white) cut in halves or quarters, yellow bell peppers cut in strips, celery, carrots and cucumbers. Lay everything out on a cutting board or big platter with sauce in a colorful bowl, and the look and feel will appear more festive.
One of my daughter’s favorite after-school snacks is a cucumber salad. I simply cut a cucumber in half lengthwise, then cut it into quarter-inch slices, drizzle with a bit of liquid amino acids (tastes similar to soy sauce but it’s made from a mix of fermented veggies) or tamari and sprinkle with sesame seeds. With this recipe, she polishes off a whole cucumber in no time!
If you’re going to be running around after school and know you will have a hungry bunch with you, have cut up fruit on hand that won’t get squishy. A bag of apple slices or orange slices will give them energy. Also try freezing natural yogurts in the tube to make a quick push-up ice pop that will provide protein and typically less sugar than an ice cream treat (parents should always check nutritional information).
When dinner time rolls around, be sure that veggies are always part of your meal—whether it’s a salad, asparagus, Swiss chard or broccoli. Providing fresh vegetables is key to helping our kids develop an understanding of how great real, natural foods can taste. On this note, avoid vegetables from a can as much as possible. There is no comparison from a green bean that you steam versus one that has spent hours being poached in a tin.
Don’t Over “Mush” Veggies When Cooking
Most veggies can be cooked in less than ten minutes. I believe one of the reasons that many kids think they don’t like to eat their greens is because they have had them over cooked in the past. A high heat oven (450 degrees), a bit of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt will quickly change the way you feel about preparing veggies and the way your family feels about eating them.
I hope you find these tips helpful, and I’m looking forward to answering any questions and learning some personal tips you have to help your family eat healthy!