Children are attracted to bright colours, but for some reason their delight in reds, yellows and greens seems to fade when a plate of fruit and veg is served. As parents it makes the job of ensuring they eat 5 portions a day, a real challenge.
Here are our top tips to make sure you hit five a day, and the good news is, they are perfect for adults that are struggling too!
Hidden vegetables tomato sauce
Pasta with tomato sauce, pizza with tomato sauce… it ticks all the boxes for the kids. So how about hiding some veg in the sauce? Annabel Karmel has a recipe called hidden vegetable sauce that packs 5 different vegetables into a tomato based sauce. I’ve tasted it – it’s lovely! If you want to make your own, just include some roasted vegetables with the tomatoes and blitz in the food processor.
They may not want to eat a piece of broccoli, but what about if they were a giant biting the head off a tree? Or their mouth is a cave for an army of peas to hide in? Challenge their inner fairy to eat the cucumber stars (use a cookie cutter) on their plate, or line up cherry tomatoes and pretend they are the planets. Engage their imagination and you might be surprised what they will try.
Flavour, flavour, flavour
Have you ever tasted a pile of cooked vegetables? Bland? So often veg is over-cooked and tastes like mush. Think about new ways to cook things that are a bit more creative and tasty. You don’t have to shy away from flavours because of small children – in fact you may be surprised by a penchant for spices. Roasted carrots cooked with cumin are delicious, sweet potato wedges with a little sweet chilli dip, garlic French beans – you won’t be able to help tucking in.
Dunking stuff is fun – whether you are eating soup, houmous or a boiled egg. Add a few French beans or baby sweetcorn alongside the bread sticks and see what happens. For adults, asparagus works surprisingly well with boiled eggs!
Grated cheese… or is it
Grate some cheese but also grate some carrot. Mix it all together and you have orange and white cheese that tastes like cheese but is also fresh and a bit crunchy! It’s perfect for when the kids have jacket potatoes or you want to fill wraps (great for dieters that can’t give up cheese!). Remember too, that if you get them involved in the making of their meal, they are more likely to eat it.
A smoothie a day
Strawberries, raspberries, apples, pears, bananas… anything you have can be thrown in the food processer and turned into smoothie. If you keep a bag of frozen berries in the freezer, or freeze bananas (peel them first) the smoothie ends up with the consistency of slush puppie. Alternatively, you can make the smoothie and freeze it in a lolly mould – a brilliant way to hide your 5-a-day!
Remember – it takes 8-10 tries before a food is officially rejected by a child. If they resolutely refuse to eat something then don’t force the issue – you don’t want to create a negative association with vegetables!
Don’t forget to take a look at the recipes by Cooks and Kids, a recipe book with a difference. Children have dreamt up their favourite foods with top chefs making their dishes a reality. With easy to follow recipes, instructions and photographs it is the ideal way to get everyone involved at meal times. For more information visit, Cooks and Kids.