Vegetables are a must on a diet.
I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.
~Jim Davis (1945 â€“ ) Garfield (1989 â€“ Present)
The hardball was tossed out today, officially opening Baseball Season.Â There are many things that enjoy analogies to our national pastime, signaling a willingness to go along with whatever program is being put forth.Â Since it is no secret that Americans like to eat (no discussion of quality vs quantity here) it is hard to imagine that so many people begin life passing up more foods than they actually eat.Â Does anyone have a picky eater in the family who, no matter what you serve, just won’t put the food in their mouth, for love or money?
DO YOU HAVE A SUPERTASTER?
I stumbled upon a lovely blog, Wandering Scientist that referred to supertasters, people who have a very highly developed sense of taste so that they taste things more acutely than most.Â They actually have more buds on their tongue, giving them a heightened sense of sweet, sour, and especially the bitter sensation.Â Taste researchers divide people into three groups:
- 25% of the population are Non-tasters, those who taste less than most people.
- 50% of the population are Medium tasters, those who have average taste ability.
- 25% of the population are Supertasters, those who taste more than most people.
The blogging mom I found said that, as a supertaster, she didn’t like most vegetables because they tasted bitter to her.Â But her larger dilemma was that she had a toddler who wouldn’t eat vegetables, and only a handful of other foods.Â She is beside herself trying to get food into her child.
I can imagine that this is disconcerting.Â Conventional wisdom holds that the forced vegetable eating of our foremothers’ generation produces it’s own set of childhood traumas.Â Not only not good for you, it didn’t really ever seem to work.Â My friend in Seattle says that her kids went for years only eating about four different vegetables and now, as teenagers, they eat just about anything.Â She feels that it is important to allow a child’s sense of taste and food preference to develop according to their own timetable, and not be expected to conform to an adult’s.Â That sounds like good advice to me.
But what do you do when your child won’t eat much of anything?Â This mom had difficulty getting down even basic fruits like apples.Â She stated that she’d rather have her child eat chicken nuggets rather than have no protein at all.Â Hmmmmm.Â Not sure I agree that chicken nuggets actually do provide good quality protein, but nonetheless, there are lots of things with protein infinitely better than nuggets.
I’ve scratched my head on this one, and come up with some things that may help out in the process.Â Everyone’s different, so nothing is a silver bullet.Â But it may help to encourage creativity around the problem, sparking additional ideas.Â I’d be interested to hear about your solutions and results.
HOW TO GET YOUR KIDS TO PLAY BALL AT MEALTIME
- To eliminate the bitterness from vegetables, peel them. Cucumber, carrot and squash skin can be particularly bitter, especially if they arenâ€™t really fresh.
- Buying vegetables that are flash frozen is another way to insure freshness and minimize bitterness.
- Kids sometimes respond to child-sized things, so take advantage of tiny fruits (clementines) vegetables (Brussels sprouts, green peas, mushrooms) and foods that can be eaten with the fingers (chicken wings, cruditÃ©s, edemame, popcorn, shrimp,Â yam fries).
- Whatâ€™s the harm in adding a little sucanat (better than refined sugar) to steamed vegetables to counteract the bitterness if that will help them go down easier?Â After your child is used to eating a particular vegetable, you can begin to decrease the amount of sweetener over time.
- Caramelizing brings out the sugars in onions; lightly sautÃ© vegetables in the same pan and combine.
- Add applesauce, a little cream and nutmeg to mashed potatoes to make them sweeter and more interesting, truly Divine Mashed Potatoes.
- Apple butter and maple syrup are great flavorings for potatoes and winter squash.
- Try sautÃ©ing apples and raisins with a little nutmeg, or baking an apple in a little water, butter and sucanat.
- Cook vegs in a little apple cider or w/dried fruit (raisins, apricots).
- Dips for vegs: hummus, salsa, Greek yogurt w/dill, honey & cucumber.
- Kids love tacos! Place each chopped veg in a different bowl and let everyone select what they want in their taco shells.
- Let them put together their own muesili or granola.
- There are lots of ways to get protein without nuggets: plain yogurt (make a potato chip dip w/balsamic vinegar), lentils (soup, curry), quinoa (makes fun curlicues) & quinoa in cider, nut butters, nuts, tofu (in mac & cheese, soups), eggs (hard-cooked, egg salad), tuna fish, cheese, bean sprouts, edemame. Vegetarian soy burgers and other frozen soy products beat chicken nuggets any day.
- Behaviors can help a lot. Take the kids to the market, let them select one new fruit, veg or nut or grain to eat every day.Â If not at the grocery store, look online.Â They have great photographs!Â Take them with you to buy it and help cook it.
- Ditto for helping to prepare it.Â If you let kids help prepare dinner, they will be more likely to eat it. The more kids know about preparing food, the more investment they will have in the process, including eating what they’ve made.