“Broccoli no!”, “tastes ugly!”, “I don’t want!”, “I don’t like it!”, and other expressions with not very pleasant tones accompanied by tears are common among children who do not eat vegetables. Other little ones don’t bother to reproach, they just clean their food and make aside everything they don’t like, like peas and carrots, and eat only what they want. “Fussy, ” we tell them.
But why? It is normal that at an early age children do not have fully developed their palate and taste buds, so the bitter, acidic, or half-tasty flavors are strong and unpleasant. Sweet is what gives them an important brain reaction of liking and happiness.
As I tell you, it’s normal, but what matters is that as parents we teach them from little better eating habits. “Practice makes the teacher,” they say out there and that is that the perseverance in feeding them nutritiously is what will eventually develop that exquisite taste for food – that beyond the delicious flavors of gastronomy – will allow them to have a healthier life, with greater defenses against diseases.
And well, yes, it sounds super nice in theory, but in practice, it’s hours of tantrums, crying, anger, screaming, despair, floor food, and frustration on the part of children and mothers.
That’s why I share in particular some tips to instill the vegetable-based diet:
Dishes where vegetables can be “hidden”
Because it is not always easy to deal with all the issues with the necessary honesty, it is totally valid to resort to the preparation of dishes where vegetables are “lost” and children consume them “without knowing”.
Some of these simple suggestions are beef mincemeat with carrot and potato chopped into very small pieces, meatballs with cheese and micro pieces of vegetables in the meat that will shape the meatball as such, and chicken broth with rice and vegetables.
It’s a great way to make them eat vegetables, as young children also love soups. The creams can be made from practically any vegetable, all over the web, there are multiple recipes to prepare them: pea, chayote, carrot, potato, celery, beetroot, mushrooms, etc.
To disguise some flavors that might be strong for them, serve the cream with cheese cubes and croutons or golden tortilla strips. You can even pour more cream at the time of preparation, to further dilute the flavor of the vegetables.
Vegetables cuts into animal or flower shapes
Accompany a chicken breast, fish croquettes, or beef steak with steamed vegetables cut in the form of animals or flowers. Aluminum or silicone molds that exist to make cookies are used to cut vegetables once cooked and soft. It’s a laborious job, but it works, because the dishes look nice when you serve them.
You can decorate the vegetables with droplets of tomato sauce, mayonnaise, or some dressing to your liking so that, for example, they look like the chick’s eyes and smile.
Vegetables with dressing as a snack
Also, the mini olive skewers works and cheese cubes with Maggysauce, or cups of vegetables cooked with lemon and salt, such as elote as a schizote and cooked potato. A delight for a fun family moment. Children will eat them by imitation until it’s normal for them.
Game of flavors to try different things
Another option is to create a game for the time of the meal. This game works with a variety of cooked vegetables that will be tested each in turn. Everyone eats the same at the same time and has their taste, and then they try another vegetable and so on. They can also accompany it with dressings, butter, lemon, or whatever they want.
What other techniques have worked for you?
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