“Make Your Children Veggie Lovers for Life!”
Blog Twelve: Monday, 17 June 2019
Written by Mandy Sacher, CEO of Wholesome Child
Welcome back for the last time,
What a journey it’s been! We’ve covered how to introduce solids, shop for groceries and even how to eat out at restaurants. But all good things must come to an end and today we’re wrapping up with how to make your kids veggie lovers for life.
We all know the struggle of getting children to eat their greens (and reds, oranges, blues, purples and browns) on a daily basis. In fact, it’s a common concern I hear at my workshops. My advice is to keep calm and carry on because long-term studies prove that the vegetables your child eats now make an enormous difference to their health for the rest of their lives.
But in case you need a hand, here are my top four tips to inspire little veggie lovers.
1. Try one new veggie a week
I usually find a strong connection between children who eat the same vegetables over and over and parents who do the same. By expanding your own veggie repertoire, you give your child an opportunity to see and taste variety too. Try salad veggies, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and starchy vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato. While there’s nothing wrong with focusing on their favourite vegetables, it’s best not to forget there’s a huge selection out there, which given the chance, children may actually enjoy.
2. Include beans and legumes
These are our most nutritious plant foods, high in proteins, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, fibre, minerals and phytochemicals. Beans are an excellent way to ensure optimum protein intake in vegetarians, prevent constipation and keep away diseases such as colon cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. Hummus, Lentil Soup, bean stews and Chickpea Falafels are a fantastic way to introduce legumes to your child.
3. Don’t forget herbs and spices
Basil is packed with essential oils which are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Add it to tomato-based pasta sauces, sprinkle on pizza and mix it into rissoles.
Mint soothes upset stomachs and improves digestion. Chill mint tea with a dash of raw honey or add fresh mint leaves and orange slices to water and serve in place of juice.
Oregano is often used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and urinary tract disorders. Add it to chicken, lamb or beef dishes.
Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins and keeps the immune system strong, tones the bones and heals the nervous system. It also helps to flush excess fluid from the body and support kidney function. Add it to smoothies, chicken soup and pasta sauces.
Spices aren’t just for adding flavour. Spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are packed with nutrients too. Add turmeric and ginger to chicken soup, sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower and add cinnamon to pumpkin and butternut squash.
4. Create a veggie patch.
Children love planting seeds, watching them grow, and eventually harvesting what they’ve planted. It’s the best way to help them make the association between earth to plate, and to engage their curiosity about different varieties of vegetables. If outdoor space is limited, start off with herbs such as basil or oregano, or better yet get involved with a community garden.
I’ve had a great time taking you on this foodie journey and I hope you’ve learned something along the way too.