Do you find yourself sitting by helplessly while your very own little picky eater works her way through every ounce of spaghetti sauce, picking out the almost microscopic bits of cooked onion?
Do you wish there were a way to get little Johnny to eat more veggies than just the French fries at the local drive- thru? (Do those even count as veggies, anyway?)
While these tricks won't necessarily help you win each of those out-right battles waged over plates of food with flagrant veggies and fruit, playing a little "Hide-and-Sneak" could be just what the doctor ordered for a simple way to help your child eat healthier ... even if their picky little taste buds haven't quite matured enough for a full serving of cooked Brussel sprouts.
1) Puree veggies and add to spaghetti sauce, soups, or soup stock. You can also use small baby food jars of pureed carrots or squash to thicken (and add some healthy veggies) to assorted sauces and soups.
2) Shred veggies and add to ground meat for healthier burgers, meatloaf, or meatballs. You can also add some shredded veggies as you're browning ground meat for tacos and other ground meat meals.
3) Hide those "icky" onions in sauces, casseroles, or other recipes by sauteing the sliced onions in a small amount of margarine/butter or olive oil until soft. Then blending throughly in the blender. You'll get all of the delicious onion flavor but none of that yucky "slimy" texture picky kids tend to find so disgusting.
4) Thicken gravies and sauces with pureed vegetables (be sure to steam or cook the veggies first). You can also use baby food veggies for this, too
5) Add 1/2 cup of carrot puree (or a jar of those handy baby food carrots) to your favorite brownie mix or chocolate cake recipe.
6) Let your kids "dip" their various raw or cookked veggies in a dip: Cheese dip, Ranch dressing, salsa, mayo, sour cream, or ketchup. One mom reported to me that her daughter's veggie-with-dip of choice is cooked green beans dipped in her favorite ketchup. Yeah, I know. Ick! But at least she's eating those green beans happily.
7) Make your own fruit-flavored breakfast "syrups" by blending fresh or thawed blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or whatever you child's favorite berries might be with a small amount of honey.
8) Make popsicles with 100% fruit juice, pureed fruit mixed with a bit of honey and juice or milk, or flavored yogurt.
Be creative ... invent your own version of "Hide-and-Sneak" with your picky child's personal food arch-enemy.
Deborah Taylor-Hough (mother of three) is the author of several popular books including Frugal Living For Dummies(r); Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month; and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide for Saving Your Time, Money & Sanity. For more tips and ideas on cooking, parenting, saving money, and homemaking, visit Debi online and subscribe to one of her free email newsletters at: http://thesimplemom.wordpress.com/
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