|Alex at his chubbiest ever!|
Serve chocolate dipping sauce!
I've posted some vegan dinners that I serve to my family. But we all know that in today's environment of ample and (on average) unhealthy food, it can be a real chore to do your duty and get fresh fruits and vegetables that last step off their plates and into their tummies.
My children are no angels at my table but they do eat a pretty decent share of the good stuff. Apart from sheer luck, it's possible that the following helped:
1. Start them young
My children were both exclusively breastfed until well after 6 months, and then I started with fruits like avocado and banana as well as kumara - all lovely and sweet! I like my broccoli and cauliflower and courgettes and carrots cooked pretty soft (and sweet), so it wasn't hard to encourage an adventurous table-tyke to steal from my plate.
As vegans, we moved from baby fruit foods to baby grain foods, and they never had the baby foods with the strong and addictive tastes of cheese, milk, or meat. This probably made a difference.
Several mums I know use baby-led weaning for introducing solids, and don't use mashed foods at all. It's certainly easier for young children to eat veggies and fruits in this process than fibrous meats.
2. Walk your talk (well, eat it)
I've been vegan all their lives so they see me with a plateful on a regular basis. There is no better teacher than example.
You don't have to be a vegan to set a good veggie example. But you do have to eat them, and be seen eating and enjoying them.
3. Veggies first!
Starches, especially refined starches, satisfy your sweet tooth as well as being extremely filling. Meats, cheeses, and other rich savouries overwhelm your taste buds.
Kids and grownups alike - eat a nice pile of veggies as the starter to your meal
- You are hungrier
- They will taste better
- You will eat more veggies
- (Optional benefit) You will eat less of the rest of the meal
- One popular concern is that if you feed children too much fibre, they may not get enough calories. If you feel your child is now eating too many vegetables and is therefore wasting away :-) please use your own judgement. The opposite problem is way more common.
My kids' favourite veggies
For what it's worth...both of my kids vary quite a bit in their tastes so yours will too.
- Broccoli and cauliflower cooked nice and soft
- Nadia has joined Alex in the cucumber fan club
- Alex eats the part of the tomato with not one seed please. Nadia eats the seeds. With a bit of "look over there" we can get through quite a bit.
- Alex will eat raw carrot sticks under duress, but heaps shredded carrot and lettuce on wraps. Nadia's also keen on shredded carrot
- Black olives
- Alex wishes corn on the cob grew year round. Me too.
Also check out:
- apples, bananas, mandarins, kiwifruit, avocado...
- dentists don't recommend dried fruits but they do pack well in lunches