Introduce your kids to dishes like beetroot dosas, veggie sticks and milkshakes…a little extra effort can go a long way to get your child to enjoy their fruits and veggies!
By Prachi Mandholia
Every mother’s story reads ‘My child does not eat fruits’ or ‘My child refuses to eat vegetables’. Yes, children are fussy when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, their habits being greatly influenced by their peers, friends, parents and family. You, as a parent, play an important role for the adult in the making.
Have you ever wondered why children are so fussy about eating vegetables? The answer is very simple. If you like delicious foods, so does your child. Put in that little extra effort to make the preparation, the way your child would enjoy it.
It takes no time for children to be bored with their toys, so how do you think they will not be bored with the same old vegetables? Add variety, try new recipes. You might be disappointed if your child does not enjoy or eat a particular dish the first time, but trying is the key. Do not give up; try making it again after a few days and they might have changed their mind.
Children do not like big chunks of vegetables, so ensure that you prepare a nice recipe with small pieces of veggies. Make it so colourful that it attracts your child’s attention. Get all your creativity out on the table and watch them dig in.
Ideas to incorporate fruits and vegetables into meals
A blend of fruit and yogurt/milk makes a nutritious milkshake for your kids. Add a spoonful of honey to enhance its flavour and nutrition.
Scoop a Fruit
Believe it or not, this works. Split a fruit like kiwi into two equal halves and let your child enjoy scooping their way through. You may name it kiwi ice-cream and see the magic work.
Combine all the possible fruits into a milk and custard mix with honey. Serve it as a dessert and watch your children indulge.
Cut a variety of fruits into fun shapes and let your kids go wild, dipping them into a healthy dip of plain yogurt mixed with a pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey.
If this is the only way to get some fruits, so be it. But make sure it is freshly made, pulpy juice with no added sugar. Avoid packaged ones as they are loaded with sugar.
Steam beetroot, puree it and add it to the dosa batter. Children love colours and they are sure to love this red-pink dosa too. Similarly, add carrot, spinach purees to the dosa batter and see the excitement.
Be it cucumber, celery or carrot, salad sticks are a favourite among children. If they do not enjoy sticks, try roundels. To make it more interesting, serve it with hummus or a yoghurt dip. Serve it on the dining table, dig in yourself and see the children follow you.
Green Smoothies with kale or spinach is a great way to incorporate greens. Start with yoghurt as the base, along with a fruit like pineapple, some coconut water, oats and honey. This makes a wholesome yummy smoothie which your kid is sure to enjoy.
Veg Au Gratin
Make this recipe a favourite for your child. This can be modified to a healthy one by simply using whole wheat flour for white sauce instead of refined flour. Also, chop all the veggies finely to make it an interesting one.
Soup is an excellent way to get your kids to eat their veggies. Packaged soups may be packed with vegetables, but they are loaded with sodium too. So home-made beetroot-carrot, all veggies, broccoli-spinach soup is the way to go.
Instead of the regular aloo tikki, try mixed vegetable cutlets with cheese. Cheese is a favourite with all children. So, add it to cutlets with different combination of veggies like broccoli-potato, spinach-peas, cauliflower-onion and beetroot-chickpeas. If not cheese, homemade paneer works wonders too.
What makes pizza so unhealthy? It’s the refined flour base that lacks fibre. Go for a whole wheat flour base, sprinkle a layer of finely ground veggies like broccoli, zucchini, mushroom on the base, top it with sauce and homemade paneer and bake. And your all-new healthy pizza is ready!
Fruits and vegetables in plenty will keep your children healthy.
(The writer is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator. She is a practicing Clinical Nutritionist, based out of Mumbai. For more ideas, email at email@example.com.)