Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Training Up Tuesday: Get Your Children to Eat Veggies!

My children are very picky eaters--my 4 year old daughter, especially. It takes a lot of coaxing and bribes to even get her to take one "no thank you bite" as we call them at our house. My 19 month old is a little less picky, but it can still be a challenge to get anything green into his belly! Last year I was really getting tired of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and heating up Tyson chicken nuggets each day, so I bought the cookbook, Deceptively Delicious , on Amazon and I became a puree-ing maniac!

This book was written by Jerry Seinfeld's wife, Jessica, and it gives great recipes that kids will eat...and they're all made with fresh vegetables and healthy ingredients! The trick is to puree your favorite veggies and fruits and add them to whatever you're cooking. I saw her on The View last year when the book first came out and she made everything look so good and easy, so I thought I'd give it a try. For my first experiment, I tried the chicken nuggets with a broccoli puree and I have to say they are scrumptious! They were so easy to make and the best part is that my daughter LOVED them. She had no idea she was eating fresh broccoli! These can be made it large batches and then placed in the freezer, too.

My husband is a very picky eater, as well--our children get it honestly. There are only a few vegetables he will allow onto his palate, so I have used our dinners, as well, to sneak some veggies in that I know he would NEVER eat. I will admit that he has been able to tell a few of the items that I snuck in. One of his veggie enemies is spinach and once in a while I will add 1/2 cup of pureed spinach into spaghetti sauce. He figured out my trick early on, and now when he calls to ask what's for dinner and I reply "Spaghetti," he'll quickly ask me not to add the spinach. :) But, I did add a butternut squash puree into a mac and cheese recipe in the cookbook, and I smiled with pride as he ate it with NO clue! Mission accomplished.

Now, some people may look at this cookbook and think "I will never have time to do this. It's too much work and it makes me tired just thinking about it". Not true. I put aside a few hours once in a while when my children are napping and use this as my pureeing time. Now that it's summer time, all the produce stands have their fresh fruits and veggies displayed. Pick some that you like and some that you normally don't buy. Wash them, peel them if necessary and them steam them until soft. Place them in your blender with a little bit of water and puree until they reach a nice liquid form. I store mine in 1/2 cup increments in a ziploc bag and then label with a black sharpie. When you're ready to use them, you can thaw the bag and place in your recipes. Get creative! You'd be surprised what vegetables you can sneak into certain recipes. Some other favorite recipes of ours from the book are the mac and cheese, the salsa (my husband even likes it!), the quesadillas and the blueberry/spinach oatmeal me, they are DELICIOUS!

This process is also a great way to make fresh baby food. When I started this process, my son was about 4 months old. Once he started baby food, I fed him from my Deceptively Delicious stash and he loved it! It was so neat to watch him devour things like cauliflower and spinach and I felt great knowing what was going into his body. Again, you'd be surprised what vegetables you can get your children to eat!


Glenda said...

Man, this is the kind of thing that you think, why didn't I think of that. The closeset I got to any of this was pureed veggies frozen as ice cubes. This looks great and I still might try it for JR and definitely AP. Thanks so much.

Michele said...

Thank you so much for this tip. My 3 year old will not eat anything except peanut butter sandwiches and chicken nuggets. I was just telling my husband that I needed to figure out some way to get him to eat other foods. His problem is that he won't even taste one bite of something he hasn't had before. I think I'll go buy this book today and give it a try.

Ashlie.....frequent visitor! said...

Donna, I LOVE this book and use some of the recipes, too. My fam loves the sweet potato pancakes and some of the muffins. I don't always have time to I keep store bought baby food. I still serve items with fresh veggies, too. This is just a good way to get extra veggies in. Michele, don't get too discouraged; I've read that it often takes 11 times or more of trying something to determine if a child really doesn't like something. Don't give up! :)

richesons said...

Ha! I do this too... I inwardly giggled in satisfaction as my husband and son ate scrambled eggs with cauliflower, saying they were "the best eggs ever." I never told.