Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hiding Vegetables

The trend I dislike the most lately is all of the cookbooks that teach parents how to hide vegetables and fruit in foods. I understand picky eaters, I have two of my own, but I don't understand how hiding spinach in a brownie will create healthy eaters. The one thing I don't do is I don't lie to my family by hiding healthy food. That seems like such a backward way of thinking. Why not tell your children that a brownie has black beans in it or pumpkin, if it tastes good, then they will appreciate the taste and may like that ingredient when it is not surrounded by chocolate. Giving children as much information as possible is the best way for them to learn to appreciate and enjoy new foods.

We need to get children to be passionate about what they eat and why healthy eating is so vital to our survival. Today's children are being raised on a McDonald's mentality, if it is fun and is loaded with salt and sugar than that is the only thing worth eating. Fruit and vegetables are foreign to children because they are no longer a part of their every day life.

What is wrong with telling your children that eating healthy food is good for them? What is wrong with giving children healthy food to eat at every meal. Most picky eaters are developed because parents stop trying to introduce new foods or reintroduce foods disliked in the past. It is much easier to get younger children to try new foods or reintroduce foods than it is older children and adults.

Here is what we do in our house:

  1. Always try at least one or two bites of all new food.
  2. If a food is not likes it will be tried again in a few months (we always say that to our son that his taste buds grow up and get big too, maybe your taste buds will like the food now)
  3. If a food is not liked with a certain cooking process then another way is tried.
  4. 5 bite rule. There are times when food becomes part of testing and Independence, at that point 5 bites have to be eaten before the meal is finished, no negotiation.
  5. There is no short order cook that works in my house, whatever is made for dinner is eaten by everyone.
  6. Food is discussed in our family, health, nutrition and the importance of all food has always been part of our dinner conversations.
  7. Dinner is made by everyone so that even the very young can see how easy and important it is to create healthy foods.

Don't underestimate your children. Knowledge is power. The more they know, the more they will learn to appreciate healthy eating.

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