There is no question that serving your family a home-cooked meal is better than ordering take-out every night, but I don’t need to tell anybody that. However, under even the best of circumstances it can be a challenge to have a meal prepared and on the table every night of the week. Therefore, take-out becomes the food of choice whether you want it to be or not. That’s why on the night’s that I have the ability to cook at home, I try to make the most of it.
When you make meals at home, one of the best things to add to the menu are vegetables. By including vegetables with each meal, you are helping to ensure healthy habits for your family while providing them with important vitamins their body needs. Besides, they add nice color to the plate and look pretty. It’s all about the presentation baby!
Since I am a mother to two little ones, I know how difficult it can be to encourage a child to eat vegetables. I also remember when I was growing up, I tried to avoid vegetables at all costs. The dogs were my best friends at dinnertime. (don’t tell my mom) Now that it is my job to help convince the kids that vegetables are not the enemy, I have a new found respect for my mom. You guys know what I’m talking about….
One of the best ways I have found to bring a smile to my children’s face when serving vegetables is to have fun with it. As I mentioned earlier about presentation, sometimes making food fun can make the meal more appealing to your younger audience. Check out how to make Bear Paws or Green Bean Campfires if you need some inspiration. I also include the kids in the meal preparation as often as possible. It’s a great time to talk and enjoy time together.
Another thing I do when introducing new vegetables to my children is use sauteing as my cooking method. By sauteing the vegetables, my kids seem to find most vegetables delicious and enjoy eating them. I know when you think about eating healthy, sauteed vegetables may not be the first choice that comes to mind, however if it helps to introduce the flavor of a new vegetable to them, I am all for it.
When deciding what to use when sauteing vegetables, you can make smarter choices by using products like Country Crock that have 70% less less saturated fat and 30% fewer calories than butter. You can also use broths or bouillons to add great flavor to vegetables. Once a child knows they like a certain vegetable, they are probably more likely to eat it however it may be prepared.
The last thing to think about when having dinner is make dinnertime enjoyable. It can take a child from 10-15 times of being introduced to the same food for a child to accept it. (According to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital website) Be persistent, but be patient as well. Let dinner be a time for enjoying family and sharing about your day with each other. Before you know it the kids vegetables will be flying off their plates.
Are you looking for quick and simple tips and recipes to make serving veggies more fun? Download the free Clare Crespo Cookbook here for fun and whimsical recipes your family is sure to love!