Help, my child won’t eat vegetables!May 28, 2012 No Comments
It’s not always easy to get children to eat their greens. We asked the experts at cookveg.co.uk for their tops tips on how to introduce fussy eaters to new vegetables in their diet…
There are lots of reasons to encourage your child to eat more vegetables.
For a start, we know that a diet high in fruit and veg is better for them.
A recent Harvard study found that each extra serving of processed meat per day increased the chance of premature death by 20%, while the World Cancer Research Fund has recommended people limit consumption to 500g (cooked weight) of red meat a week, avoiding processed meat altogether.
Then there’s the fact that when challenged with a rising food bill in the supermarket, vegetables are great value. Top-notch seasonal vegetables are available at a steal from markets (or you can grow your own for pence); combine with low-cost grains and dried pulses and you have seriously frugal food.
It even makes environmental sense as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gases are caused by meat production. So simply eating less intensively farmed meat on fewer occasions can reduce your carbon footprint.
But what do you do if your child simply refuses to eat their vegetables? Here’s a few tips to help ensure they eat a balanced diet…
1.Go with what they know. Vary their favourite dishes by spiking them with different ingredients. If they’ll eat a veggie shepherd’s pie, vary the mash by mixing potato with sweet potato, carrot, turnip or swede. The same approach works with all sorts of recipes, from stews and pasta bakes to risotto or even sandwiches.
2. Serve favourite dips with unfamiliar or unaccepted vegetables. Raw carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes are much more likely to be enjoyed as a vehicle for hoummous or nacho cheese first time around, and hopefully also accepted when tried again as part of a square meal.
3. Consider adding their favourite fruit along with vegetables to couscous and other recipes. The sweetness will help counteract any perceived bitterness from the veg by balancing the flavours in every forkful. Dried chopped apricots are ideal.
4. Follow the ‘pizza’ principle. It’s amazing what kids will eat in pizza form, so try adding one new topping each time along with their favourites, such as roasted courgette slices, rings of red and green pepper, sweetcorn, even cooked baby carrots.
5. Don’t give up. Often a new food needs to be introduced again and again until it is accepted. Show how much you’re enjoying eating that food, and encourage your child to try it, but don’t insist on a clean plate.
Quorn Cottage Pie
For the topping
For the filling
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Boil the potatoes and parsnip until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and carrot and fry gently until the onions are soft.
- Add the Quorn Mince, frozen vegetables, vegetable stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée and soy sauce, and season to taste.
- Simmer ingredients together for five minutes.
- Add the cornflower paste and simmer gently until the sauce thickens then place in an ovenproof dish.
- Mash the potatoes and parsnip with the milk until smooth, season to taste. Place the topping over the Quorn filling and fluff up with a fork.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp. Serve immediately with a selection of fresh seasonal vegetables.