Monday, 16 July 2012

How To Get Your Little One To Eat Greens

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You may think that it’s a luxury to have your kids enjoy eating their greens, but it’s an easier task to achieve than you think.  Before you roll your eyes and shut me down completely, here’s a true story.  My girlfriend recently gushed in joy that her 15 month old boy ate spinach after months of battles with the greens.

He would hopelessly throw his vegetables on the floor for his own pleasure (much to the dismay of his tired and annoyed mum).  Don’t get me wrong, this little boy is gorgeous and gives me an arm work-out every time I lift him in my arms.  I am sure that he is over the 50th percentile for both height and weight on his growth chart. 

So what’s the problem?  Well it’s that moment in every mum’s life when her son or daughter starts refusing their greens.  How do you cope with it?

My chosen weapon of attack is known as the disappearing act.  If you are missing the trick, all that you need to do is to puree the green item and mix it in with the main meal.  For example, my Creamy Mushroom And Asparagus Risotto With Spinach worked a treat!  The little one hardly noticed that the spinach was included in the dish and devoured it like magic.

When oceans of tears are the last thing that you want to deal with after a hard day of work and hours in the kitchen, then this is one practical suggestion that can be incorporated on a daily basis, when you need to ride through the temporary phase of ‘I will not eat the yucky greens’.

Never force your child to eat something that they don’t like as you run the risk of feeding aversions.  Instead, encourage them as much as you can and try the refused food a few days later.  

Secondly, you could try presenting the same dish with the spinach cooked in its ‘whole’ form  once he or she starts eating it in the pureed version.  Chances are that you will have dinner completed in thirty minutes fuss free and you’ll have your secluded moment with that irresistible new book that you’ve been dying to read before bed.

Did you know that cucumber is one of the easiest things for children to eat?  It’s relatively plain, has a pleasing texture and has a high water content which the kids will love during summer.  As a pre-dinner snack, cut up cucumber sticks along with the children’s favourite veges for them to help themselves to.  You could seat them at the table and leave a small plate in front of them and then seriously, just leave them to it. 

No need to say a word.  Chances are, they will enjoy picking up the cut up vegetables and will help themselves without any encouragement from you.  Soon, you will be bonding over greens with your little ones.  Go on, give it a try!  You have nothing to lose.

How do you encourage your children to eat their greens?