A new year brings opportunities and challenges. For many parents, getting their children to eat healthier will be a top priority, but getting kids to eat more asparagus and broccoli can be a bit daunting.
When my boys were little, I became trapped in the routine of preparing the same basic meals week after week. It was boring for me and not very good for my sons. I knew that they needed to be open-minded to try new things and certainly needed to expand their menus from green beans and potatoes.
Somewhere along the way, I read in an article that many people develop a taste for a particular food if they eat it 7-10 times in a row. I am sorry that I cannot remember where I read this or if it was truly scientific; however, I devised a little plan that proved to be successful in my home, and I hope that it works for you.
When my sons were in kindergarten, they learned the alphabet through a program called “letter of the week.” Each week the letter was a “celebrity”: Everything in the classroom, from crafts to food, was centered on the chosen letter. This gave me the idea of “vegetable of the week,” and I began with the letter “A.”
It was so much fun. Our first “A” vegetable was asparagus. I roasted it very simply with olive oil and kosher salt. Each night, everyone at the table had to take one bite. Regardless of the entree, asparagus was a regular for one week. I did not make a huge deal out of it; instead, it was a game. I added a cream sauce one night and Parmesan cheese another night. One son was more hesitant than the other, but eventually they seemed to like asparagus. After that, I was off to brussel sprouts.
I tried the same procedure, and it worked!!
There were definitely some vegetables that were bigger hits than others, but the concept of a small bite each night worked for me. Of course, I was very proud of them. Each night I encouraged them to expand their horizons and eat like an adult. When their friends made comments like “yuck,” my youngest son smiled with pride about his new and sophisticated palate.
I have a very healthy friend who purees vegetables and adds them to almost every dish that she prepares for her toddler. This is a very good idea for incorporating vegetables and definitely helps if your child does not like certain textures.
My most important advice is to introduce a varied diet to your children when they are young, whether you use my “vegetable of the week” game or create one of your own. Practicing and encouraging healthy activities at an early age is a vital part of child rearing.
1 Bunch of fresh asparagus
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash asparagus and trim off the ends. Place on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven for about 10 minutes. If using cheese, remove from oven and sprinkle the cheese. Return to oven and melt cheese.
This is also the perfect way to roast most vegetables.
Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy 2013.
As always, thanks for reading.