Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sneaking Vegetables; Tips for Finicky Eaters

Vegetables
Vegetables

Five a day. That's the minimum. How many of us moms get five veggies and fruits into our children's diets each day? Or how many of us moms even eat five a day? It's tough. But vegetables are Nature's Bounty... full of oh-so-much more than just vitamins and minerals. Vegetables contain health-giving properties that are just now being discovered. This kind of stuff doesn't fit on the "Nutrition Facts" label!

Did you know that organic vegetables have 30-90% more nutrients than conventional vegetables? For moms with finicky eaters, this is a very important fact. By purchasing organic vegetables, we are getting a lot more nutrients for our money... and for our effort, considering how difficult it can be to get children to eat their greens.

So, what works for me? There are several books published within the last year that describe in detail how to fool your kids into eating their veggies. There is some merit in that. But what happens when the child grows up? Isn't it important to train their tastes to eat (maybe enjoy!) vegetables? Don't we want them to choose vegetables on their own? That's where my WFMW tip comes in...

I slip tiny bits of vegetables into my children's favorite meals. Chili and Spaghetti Sauce work particularly well. The rule of thumb is: the more picky the eater, the smaller you'll have to dice and the less you'll add in at first. BUT, here is an often missed key: you want to increase both the size you chop the veggies AND the amount added in. The goal is to raise a child who will tolerate (maybe enjoy!) vegetables.

We all have our favorites. Even I don't like all vegetables. But I do love fresh food. And I'd like my children to learn that appreciation for goodness too. Does your child love vegetables? Prepare the ones he prefers as side dishes... and sneak the ones you want him to learn to like into other foods. Just don't forget to gradually increase!

Tonight we had whole wheat pasta with a vegetable spaghetti sauce. I added bits of onion, mushroom, zucchini, red bell pepper, garlic and swiss chard. That may be a little over the top for your kids right now. So start small. And work your way up to an easy five-a-day!


For more works-for-me Wednesday tips visit RocksInMyDryer.net.
Photo Credit: AllPosters.com

13 comments:

Innkeeper Seely said...

My mom always grated a few carrots to add to her pasta sauce. Added some sweetness and no one ever noticed the extra nutrition. I fooled her into eating mushrooms recently by dicing them up for the sauce, LOL. You can also put grated carrots in brown gravy, meat loaf and a lot of other foods.

Dave @ Home School Dad said...

That was good. We can't get our kids to eat the spaghetti or the spaghetti sauce, let alone the vegetable we'd add in there. We are trying though!

Heidi @ Blue Eyed Blessings said...

I definitely need to do this! I fail often at getting veggies into my kids' (and my) diet. Thanks for the thoughts and ideas...

Bethany said...

Swiss Chard in spaghetti sauce! Hard core. Sounds good too. I hope to try that soon.
I love your recipe ideas.
Thanks!

Sherry said...

I've been trying to add more veggies into our things, too. Thankfully, my children like veggies although more so fresh than cooked.

Martha said...

Fortunately my son will eat some veggies, especially when I mention that his favorite cartoons love to eat vegetables. It works for the time being (wipes forehead) and I agree, sneaking in veggies will work for my son. Although, my nephew is an entirely different story. He will immediately spit out his food if there's a molecule of veggies in it, it's an amazing talent of his :o)

itsahumanzoo said...

I always sneak veggies into my spaghetti sauce and chili so that my HUSBAND will eat them! My son is a champion veggie eater! Thanks for this post. :)

JessieLeigh said...

Great post. We'll have to try this sometimes! My toddlers were great veggie eaters but now, as preschoolers, they're suddenly not too sure. This sounds like a good way to "remind them" that they like them! :)

Xazmin said...

I used to chop up spinach really small and put it in everything! Now my kids love fresh spinach and their favorite salad is spinach, with romaine lettuce, then we like to add crumbled feta cheese, raisins, almonds and sometimes bacon bits! It's a hearty salad and the kids will eat it!

Hi! It's me, Jen. said...

Yes! The veggie sneak, classic. I need to do more of it AND remember to up the cut & portion. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

Melissa@DropTheBabyWeight.com said...

I should add greens more often, and I love the grating carrots idea! I grew up not being allowed to dislike vegetables and ate them as a matter of course. But a little hiding works well, too!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

LOL

I sneak fruit and veggies into my dishes. But not just for the kiddo..the hubby too.

:)

Jennifer said...

Good idea! I never thought of this. My one year old son is driving me crazy! Anytime I give him a vegetable he throws it on the floor. He is pickier than my daughter ever dreamed of.

Yesterday I made cheese quesidillas in my sandwhich maker and added small pieces of brocolie. My daughter actually ate it, but my son. Nope. He threw his sandwich on the floor. The dog ate it. :(