Getting Children To Eat Their Greens!

I have noticed it is not only our spirits that are low at this time of year, our Vitamin D and antioxidant levels drop drastically from the lack of abundant fruits and sunshine.

My children’s appetites are near non existent compared to the huge potato cakes they were eating in the summer. Seriously the amount they were eating compared to that they are eating now is enough to scare any parent! I was overjoyed when they were eating all the veggies via the potato cakes and thought I was onto a winner, I think they stopped enjoying it when I put beetroot in it and then my youngest fell into the habit of rejecting everything which has been a real struggle.

Until the last few weeks, since starting the health conscious living plan over a year ago, the kids would not eat anything in a sauce, it was dry bread and toast, plain pasta, rice and noodles etc.

It was really difficult to get any veg in them at all and I felt unable to find a way.

One day we had a break through with rice, I started making risotto type dishes and they went down well for a bit until I used broccoli in it then they wouldn’t eat that either. I was literally pulling my hair out! Then I devised a plan to only use lightly coloured veg in the rice dishes as it could be disguised more, kinda sneaky but Mum knows best and these kids need their veg so using light foods such as Cauliflower and green Cabbage, Garlic etc and chopping it very very finely this worked for my youngest who really loved it, sadly for me this wasn’t good enough as it left 1 boy hungry still!

My boys love Butternut Squash so praying underway I steamed and blitzed some squash and added it to a different type if noodles they hadn’t tried (optimistically hoping yet worrying they would waste yet more food) and to my happy surprise they both ate it. Quite often food is dismissed just on looks so I was happy this worked.

It still wasn’t enough, I couldn’t remember the last time they ate their greens so next time I got a little cheeky and added Brussel Sprouts to the squash blend. Luckily for me the squash held the colour of the sauce and the sweetness overpowered the sprouts. Yes! Finally some real goodness getting in!

Holding this method, the next time I did a rice dish I selected veggies of a light colour. Using the below method it was hardly noticeable there was even a sauce to the rice let alone vegetables in it. I am not so sure this would have worked with darker greens such as Kale as it would totally change the appearance leaving the plain rice loving child wondering what’s going on here, although I am happy for them just to have sprouts at least 3 times a week if no other veg!!

Using an introductory amount of veg has proved a winner and next time I will use a good sized amount of sprouts for each child.

To spruce up your rice and fill your child with the benefits of vegetables use:

250g Organic Brown Rice

4 Organic Brussel sprouts

1/4 head Organic Cauliflower

1/2 Medium Onion

1 Clove Organic Garlic

Approx 3-5 Ounces if Water

(I have found that adding garlic attracts them to all dishes more)

To create this nutritious dish:

Cook the rice until almost done. Add all the above ingredients to a pan with a little water, bring to the boil and steam on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the water to a blender and gently add the cooked veggies. Blend well until it becomes smooth and creamy. Spoon out the mix into the cooked rice and mix thoroughly. Plate it up, wait for it to cool. Serves 2 children

With these amounts the sauce is tasty but not overpowering yet almost unnoticeable in appearance and will hopefully go down a treat.

A little tip: I have noticed if my boy refuses this dish warm, I will let it go and then wait for it to cool completely and offer it to him again in perhaps a different room in the house. Each time he has finished the whole plate. This helps children acknowledge hunger and appreciate the food they do have. I know it is not wonderful table manners but if it gets the food in him and doesn’t harm anyone then I’m happy!

Let us know how it goes 🙂

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