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Help Us With the Veggies


Convincing children to finish off their veggies is always a herculean task! It is almost as if they do it on purpose…eating all the things you don’t want them to and leaving out all the things you want them to finish! And it isn’t even a matter of a few years. Till your child is all grown up and out of his teenage years, you are burdened with this question every single morning you wake up : What do I make today? Something that is healthy, and tasty. Something to satisfy your concerns for their health, while also tingling their taste buds!
In this battle of the feeder and the fed, the parents often end up losing, simply because they finally give in to their children’s demands. Just for today, they say. Let them eat what they feel like. And then the next day and the next the same story follows! In fact this is one of the primary topics of discussion among parents…How do you make your child eat good food?! We all share our tips and tricks..some turn out to be successful, some bomb, and then we set out looking for newer tips! The battle goes on, and yet we never give up! Who says parenting is easy!!
The one tip I have found that works most times is: Disguise, Disguise, Disguise!! Because the fact of the matter is, they are never going to readily eat veggies they don’t like no matter how much coaxing and cajoling you do. So here are some great ways by which you can deceive your child into eating those veggies without complaining!
They like shapes! This is especially true for the smaller ones. Get artistic with all you cook! Bring home all the moulds and cutters you can find in the shapes of hearts, butterflies, stars..anything that interests your child! And set out to giving everything a shape! A heart shaped boiled egg? Apple slices cut out like stars? Pancakes shaped as hearts? Who wouldn’t want to try that! You will the popular parent at school!
They like colours! Again for the smaller ones (don’t try this with the older kids, they see right through it!). Don’t place any meal before them that looks dull and boring. Add splashes of colour where you can! Jams tend to be a favorite, so use it! Sauces again can be your savior! Remember how you feel when you walk into a restaurant and the food served is beautifully decorated and all you want to do is dig in! Same goes for your child! Decorate, decorate and make it look appealing so they atleast give it a try!
Package it well! If packing the food for your child’s school recess, make sure you do it in a box of his/her liking! Remember, everything about the food must draw your child’s attention, then and only then is there a possibility that they even try it!
Junk Food At home! So they like their burgers, rolls, noodles and pastas to wholesome meals at home? No problemo! Learn the art of hiding the good stuff in them! Burgers are the easiest to meddle with, because the making of the patty is in your hands! Make the patty wholesome, adding all the veggies they wouldn’t normally eat. When placed between the two buns and loads of cheese and sauce, they wouldn’t even notice your trick! Stuff the rolls with a Spanish style omelette loaded with veggies and place a generous smear of cheese, tomato sauce or any popular topping! Get innovative with noodles and pastas. They won’t stop eating the junk food. So the best thing to do is making it at home with ingredients you trust!
Recycle! Left over gravy and veggies from lunch? Wet some slices of bread and mash it. Mix them all up and shallow fry to make patties. Makes for a great evening snack. While the kids (mostly the teenagers) have their doubts on the actual contents, remember all they want is to eat tasty food!
Diversify Cuisines! Try cooking up dishes from various cuisines! Your child may prefer a fried rice to a pasta! Even better then, add loads of veggies in the rice! Try to coax your child into trying your new experiments, you never know which one might succeed!
Find healthier substitutes! Always keep a lookout in the supermarket for the nutritional value of anything your child likes. More often than not, you will find something that almost tastes the same but is way healthier. Whole wheat bread for that burger, soy milk for the packaged smoothies, you will find it when you look for it!
Juice it Up! Check if veggie juices interest them. Vegetables like carrots and spinach can taste great with a dash of lemon and a pinch of salt! If they still don’t like it, try mixing them with regular fruits juices once in a while. If juice isn’t your child’s thing, try soups! There are so many recipes for yummy veggie soups online….there must be one somewhere that can satisfy his palette!
Dips to go! Serve up veggie salads with exciting dips. Cheese, yoghurt, mint, hummus…there’s a whole choice of dips one can make. Recognize the ones your child likes and say it is to be served only with the salad. Watch him eat up the salad for the sake of the dip!
These little tricks can help parents find a balance between the much desired health and the much favored taste!