Thank you for asking this almost ethical question, Yvette!
Well, it really depends, I think, on what your goal is here.
It could be that you are willing to use this method in order to get around your child’s reluctance to eat a particular vegetable or, it may be that you are trying to increase your child’s vegetable consumption.
- In the first case, I would caution you: beware of being found out by a child who has become very wary of what lands on his plate. You want to make sure your parent-child’s food relationship is based on trust and stays that way, otherwise, you could be in for a difficult ride. Think about what message it is sending to your child, who will eventually work out what’s going on.
- In the second case, I would say go for it, increase the amount of veggies by adding them, where they would not necessarily be expected. You could:
- grate zucchini or cauliflower to make a pizza base,
- incorporate grated carrots into muffins,
- make patties with corn and peas.
It’s all in the preparation!
But now you are getting it right? In order for your child to eat more vegetables, you don’t need to hide them, you need to incorporate them into what you are cooking or serving. It has to be colourful, appetising and it has to taste as good as possible.
So let’s ponder for a few minutes on how we and our kids (can) enjoy vegetables :
- We love them braised in casseroles, stewed in curries, sweated in stir-fries, grilled on the barbecue, roasted in the oven or blended in soups. Add plenty, not just a garnish.
- We enjoy them boiled or steamed as long as they come boosted by, for example, herbs, butter, cream, yoghurt dressing, vinaigrette or spices.
- We also like them raw and colourful: grated, spiralized, sliced, and enhanced by, for example, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs. Don’t forget the dressing, as one mum put it to me: “we are not rabbits”.
- We like them in a quiche, a tart, a soufflé, or a gratin!
- We like them Asian style in a stir-Fry, or spiced up (slightly) Indian style.
It is indeed all in the preparation and the cooking, using a variety of methods will allow you to present the same vegetables over, and over and over …and over again, but rarely in the same manner, and that’s your key to success. Whichever way you prepare your vegetables, involve you child, here you can buy useful kiddies’ equipment for doing so. Children need to familiarise themselves with vegetables by touching, cleaning, peeling, or cutting them (tasks are of course, age-related). When your family dish is ready, there is no surprise, no hidden veggies, but it is attractive and yummy.
Now serve your child small portions, older children may serve themselves. Prepare yourself not to fuss over what is not eaten. Your child may take a while to get a liking and an enjoyment of vegetables, to a certain extent we all did! You are in this for the long haul. As Tom, a 27yo handsome young man said to me a few weeks ago, “it is only now that I thoroughly enjoy capsicum, mum always uses it in cooking and I never liked it as a child!” See there’s light at the end of the tunnel! All credit to Tom’s mum though, she did not go to war over capsicum but did not gave it up either…
PS: I am still working on capsicum with my youngest child…she’s in year 12! 🤭;)
So dear Yvette, hang in there, stay on course, it will all be fine.
Meat and 3 boiled vegetables are over, but meat and braised vegetables, well that’s yummy!
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