Monday, April 16, 2012

Veggies for dinner? Sweeten the deal...

My wife and I have been trying to incorporate veggies into our kid’s diet as much as possible. How successful are we in this mission? Well, did I say we were trying?  It is not an easy task. It is a challenge that takes patience and perseverance. With two kids that are completely opposite, we are faced with the task of finding a middle ground. If one likes green beans, the other hates them. One loves squash, the other can’t stand it. Why is this so difficult?
I DON’T REMEMBER BEING A DIFFICULT CHILD AT THE DINNER TABLE WHILE GROWING UP!  (please mom don’t say a word). One thing is for sure, today I love my veggies.  I even get excited to learn about our local farmer’s market opening schedule.  It is very therapeutic to walk around the market, and strike up conversations with local growers. It is great to see how the vendor displays stack-up with veggies and fruit as the season develops with warmer temps. A visit to the market also provides opportunities to shop for veggies that we haven’t tried and to get inspiration to create kid friendly meals. 
It is true what people say that “we eat with our eyes”.  Making food appetizing is the first battle to be won, especially if there are kids involved in the battlefield. For example, a portion of steamed broccoli looks more appetizing to kids if it is topped with a cheese sauce (reduced fat works just fine).  A variety of colorful chopped veggies also makes a dish attractive. Keep in mind that battles can be won if they are carefully planned.  Cauliflower lacks in color and the flavor is pretty bland if you ask me.   Mashing it and blending it in with your mashed potatoes makes it almost impossible to detect.

We have been observing from our trench how they eat and what they eat. For instance, they love fried rice.  So we cook it at home making sure we increase the amount of veggies. 1/3 rice, 1/3 Proteins (scrambled eggs and chicken) and the rest is nothing but chopped carrots, peas, lima beans, corn etc. Also, they love the vegetables served with the Sunday Roast.  So we roast plenty of carrots, asparagus, potatoes, etc. to take advantage of it. 

My wife, growing up in the south, is accustomed to sweetening some vegetables to make them more appealing.  For instance, she uses brown sugar and butter on her sweet potatoes to give them extra goodness.   For our kids, we also use a little sugar in the corn that we fry in the skillet.
There is one thing that you may want to make note of when choosing sugar for your vegetables.  We often use sugar substitutes or raw sugar, simply because they are healthier choices.

Grilled Asparagus: 

Chop off the woody part of the spear near the bottom and place Asparagus in a large zip-top plastic bag; add 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon of each) seal and marinate for 30 minutes. Remove asparagus from bag and place asparagus on grill rack. Grill 5 minutes on each side or until done.  



nom nom nom! :D

momto8 said...

you pictures look delicious! and I know most people eat with their eyes first. It has also been proven many times in my home that kids have to see a new vegetable 3 times before they try it...the 3rd time they try it....even if its purple.
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

Lien @ said...

Your food photography is amazing! Very creative. I love the style of your blog, and all the posts I've perused through has left me wanting to try harder :-) Especially this post. I've got a child that doesn't eat much although he will try practically everything (and spit it out if he doesn't like it). I'll definitely be coming back for some inspiration.

I'm your newest follower:-) Please stop by and follow back if you can. Have a great day!


Lien @ said...

Hi Carlos, thanks so much for stopping by and following. I've done a stupid thing though - the site you came to and followed was actually my test bed and I forgot to click it off my list. The same information can be found on my main blog, which is I'm sorry for the hassle, could you click over there instead because the site you are actually following is junk :-)

Thanks once again, and I really do think you have a brilliant site here.



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