Hello all! Hope everyone is having a good start to their week! Last week, we began a new class at Santo's Place and continued the rest of our classes at Dunlap, West Seattle, Sea Mar and Thomas Jefferson. Luckily, the snow storm of the week hit the east coast and not the west, so we were able to continue forth with our cooking and nutrition adventures. Last week, we made some scrumptious tuna sandwiches (on homemade bread from our chef Carol Peterman, delish!), hearty egg burritos, some more Haitian chicken and Chinese veggies with quinoa. Quinoa is a great whole grain found in South America. It's unique because it is the only whole grain that is a complete protein! This means you do not have to combine it with something else (like rice and beans) to get all the amino acids you need to help build and maintain muscle. It's truly a tasty superfood packed with protein and fiber. To make yourself some quinoa, use two cups of water for one cup of quinoa. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Easy and nutritious!
Last week, I was talking to one mother in our Dunlap Head Start class about how difficult she found it to get her daughter to eat vegetables. As a child, I loved vegetables and I think it's because of how my mom approached the task of getting me to eat new foods. For one, my mom started very early with vegetables. She also chose colorful vegetables- like red and orange bell peppers, carrots and peas. She would cut the vegetables into small pieces because, as a baby, picking up little things is more fun and a good way to use those fine motor skills. Think of all the amazing things you can do with those little fingers! A very fun activity to those new in the world. We also ate vegetables at every meal. My mom and dad would both eat them and there was no talk of how gross vegetables are. It became part of our dinner routine and so there was no reason to question why we were eating vegetables, it's just what we did. Certainly, there were times when a vegetable went untouched because it was "weird." It takes about 10-15 times of being introduced to a food before a kid may even try it. It's important to keep trying with all vegetables so that kids have the chance to get accustomed to it and see if they like them.
Some main tips for helping kids enjoy vegetables:
- Make vegetables colorful
- Introduce vegetables early on and often
- Get kids to participate in purchasing vegetables at the grocery store and in preparing the vegetables (this will also teach them how to cook for themselves in the future!)
- Keep vegetables in plain view so that they are easily accessed snacks. Do the same for fruits.
For some more ideas, look at these websites:
http://veganrd.blogspot.com/2009/02/getting-kids-to-eat-vegetables-and.html ; http://busycooks.about.com/od/healthyrecipes/a/kidsnutrition.htm
I personally do not like the idea of hiding vegetables because it makes them seem somehow unappetizing or gross. I think that early and positive introductions to vegetables can help to enjoy veggies more.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any strategies that have worked to get kids to eat their vegetables?
- Veggie lover (Janna)