Get your child to eat greens!
Let’s face it. Not all kids love their greens and some little cherubs would run a mile away if you tried to make them eat their veggies.
A recent American survey showed that 88% of children between ages two to five-years-old do not meet the US government’s nutritional requirements for a kid.
Although similar studies have not been done in Singapore, a quick survey proved that many have a difficult time in getting their young ones to finish a serving (100-150g) of vegetables!
A childcare teacher, Nurul Syahidah, said: ‘It is pretty easy to feed my daughter but she is only 8-months-old and not a picky-eater yet. However, my students, the ones who are from 3-6 years old, are very hard to feed. They often spit out the vegetables in their lunch and refuse to eat any.’
Parents should not give up in the vege-battle with their kids. Children require all the nutrients they can get to grow healthy and continue leading an active lifestyle.
The Singapore Health Promotion Board advocates a toddler to eat one serving of vegetables a day and for the older children – at least two servings a day. If they cannot even ingest a few spoonfuls, how are they to eat a serving or two?
Well, we have come up with 5 sneaky ways for you make you child eat their greens.
The food processor is one of the best investments to a parent. If you do not already have one, head down to your nearest electronic goods store and search for one. You do not need a high-end food processor but we do recommend you to get a decent one that would allow you to process both greens and meats. Using your food blender, mince vegetables so that you can add them to your sauces, soups and other dishes. Add minced veggies to bread, pizza crusts, rolls, muffins, etc. You can also mince some meat along with the greens to make items like burger patties or nuggets. The tiny bits of vegetables will go unnoticed by your kid!
Now put that same blender to good use by pureeing vegetables into soups and dips. For instance, the Sneaky Chef recommends the mixture of baby spinach, blueberries, lemon juice and water to make a delicious purple puree. The colour will also intrigue and entice the young ones into eating it. However, don’t forget, some vegetables require some boiling to soften them before you cook.
Remember to wash your processor in between use if you use raw meats so as to prevent cross-contamination.
Children love desserts so why not put vegetables into their favorite treats? Bake Zucchini Muffins, Squash Bread, Carrot Cake, Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Pie using whole grain flour and a small amount of honey, maple syrup, or sugar to sweeten. Try savory goodies like Broccoli-Cheese Muffins or Zucchini Cornbread.
If you can’t make your kids eat vegetables as they are, then substitute their favorite food with suitable green options. For instance, use sweet potatoes instead of normal white ones when you make mash potatoes or fries. Replace meat burger patties with soy and vegetable patties. The internet has an abundance of easy-to-make vegetable burger recipes. We love the vegetarian Portobello Mushroom Burger with Avocado which we found on vegetarian.com! To get the kids to like it, you could make mini versions of such burgers and present them in a creative manner.
Lastly, you can hide the greens in a smoothie form. A cold, fun drink like that would be delicious to the children without them knowing what is in it. The savvyvegetarian.com concocted an ‘Everything Smoothie’ which has 1 1/2 cups apple juice, 1/2 apple (cored and sliced), 1/2 orange (peeled), 1/2 raw sweet potato or 1 carrot (sliced), 1/4 cup chopped kale or cabbage, 1 banana, all blended together into a drink. You can in fact explore and create your own vegetable drinks which your kids might enjoy!
Whether to tell the little ones what is in their food is entirely up to you. If you do decide to adopt our sneaky methods, do tell us how it turned out! And send us recipes of your own creations too.