Vegetables: To Hide or Not to Hide?

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vegetablesI am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I even a good cook very often. So when a friend gave me a Beaba Babycook for my baby shower, a gift I had not even registered for, I was unsure what to think. To be honest, I hadn’t even thought of making my own baby food until that point.

When my son was six months old and ready for solids, I decided to give it a try. And it was fabulous! I would spend my Friday nights making batches of food for the week and then freeze them to use as necessary. For about a year, everything went great.

Then my son became more discerning about what he would eat. Words like broccoli and spinach became like curses in our house. There was sputtering, spilling, and slinging. The high chair and walls were quickly tinted green. So now what?

I decided I would be sneaky and disguise vegetables. How would he know if a few green purees made it into his meals? And that worked for a short time. But by about two years old, he had also figured that out. Now I was in a quandary, so I did what any modern mother would do: I scoured the Internet.

One of my favorite cooking for children sites is Weelicious. The author is amazing and offers tons of healthy and fun recipes for children. I also own both of her cookbooks, so I decided to reread the introductions. And something she mentioned stuck with me: we want our kids to eat well, but we want them to make healthy choices independently. Also, adding purees like beets and spinach adds color to your meals without using food coloring.

I decided I would continue putting purees and other forms of vegetables into our meals, but I would TELL my son.

We spent a few days discussing the word ingredient and what it meant. I started having him help me cook. And I scoured the Internet for child-friendly recipes using vegetables.

The outcome was great! He loves eating anything he helps make (yesterday, he ate four beets because he helped me put them into the muffin batter!) Green mac and cheese is a favorite that I cook at least a few times a month. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of eating struggles with my almost-three-year-old, but I usually get at least 3-4 servings of veggies into him a day. His little sister is just starting to explore homemade purees and loving them so far. And that’s success to me!

What are some healthy recipes you make for your children?

2 COMMENTS

  1. I love Weelicious, too! Last night I put together her slow cooker apple strudel oatmeal to have this morning since I knew we had a snow day to look forward to! There aren’t any veggies in it, but there are plenty of good things that my son loves! Great post Laura!

  2. Great post Laura! I love that you are telling your son what you are doing and getting him involved. I love having my little guy “help” me cook. He loves it and likes to eat what he helps with. We put a lot of spinach and chopped broccoli in everything (lasagna, eggs) which he loves even though he won’t eat those foods and their own right now, and he helps me make veggie patties that have quinoa, beans, spinach and feta-If it’s easy for him eat/feed himself, he tends to like it. Green Mac and Cheese sounds great-I am going to check that recipe out!

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