by Sinea Pies
STOP THE TUG OF WAR & ADOPT A FRESH APPROACH
“Eat your vegetables or…" Have you ever heard yourself say that? Or what? "You can't go out and play?" "You won't get dessert?" What kind of leverage did you use and how did it go? What happened to those vegetables? Most, I imagine, stayed right on the plate.
We all know that vegetables are rich with nutrients, which are important to a growing child. Heck, they're important to all of us. But how do you deal with a youngster who turns her nose up to anything green? If you're tired of making deals and using coercion to get your child to eat her veggies, stop the tug of war and adopt a fresh approach. Remember, when trying to win the nutrition battle with your kids, you'll have some successes and some failures. Take note of what works and repeat.
Salad Bar Art
Make eating fun. This is one time it is OK to play with your food!
Put out dishes of various raw veggies, fruits and cheese pre-cut into sizes and shapes. Work along with your kids at making food artwork on a plate. Faces are simple to come up with. Sliced olives or cherry tomatoes can become eyes. A baby carrot looks like a nose. Crescent moon shaped green or red peppers work well for a mouth. Cheese slices can be cut out for ears.
What other kinds of pictures can you make? Try a sailboat on a sea of half slices zucchini to look like waves. A full slice of yellow squash is a great sun. Cut out some Swiss cheese in shapes of clouds. Use your imagination. Take pictures of the plates when you are done and then offer up some ranch dip – or the flavor that your child likes best – and everyone dips and gobbles down their artwork.
"You Name It" Food
Hide vegetables in something your children like and name it something fun.
"Orangey Mashy Potatoes" can be your new mashed potato creation with a secret ingredient-there are carrots inside. Precook the carrots until they are very soft and mashable. Add them to whipped potatoes and voila… the potatoes are orange and rich with Vitamin A and other great nutrients that your child needs!
"Pumpkin Delight Pancakes" can be made by whipping up a classic recipe of Bisquick pancakes but adding a half cup of pumpkin. Cook in a non-stick skillet, heated on medium and sprayed with pan spray. Serve with butter and syrup.
Power Packed Popcorn Cookies Yield: 4 dozen cookies
• 1/4 cup whole wheat or allpurpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
• 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup toasted wheat germ
• 1/2 cup oatmeal
• 1/2 cup flaked coconut
• 3 cups popped popcorn
• 1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit, chopped
• 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts, optional
• Preheat oven to 350ºF.
• Lightly spray baking sheets with cooking spray and set aside.
• In small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.
• Cream butter and sugar together and add egg and vanilla; mix well.
• Stir in flour mixture, wheat germ and oatmeal until well blended.
• Add coconut, popcorn, raisins and sunflower seeds, if desired, and mix until well blended.
• Drop by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheet, with 2 inches between cookies to allow for spreading.
• Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
• Allow to cool on pan 5 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.
More Healthy Snacks
PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS
Oats, nuts and dried fruits make a very healthy snack or breakfast food. And kids love peanut butter. Try making your own homemade granola bars. These bars, featured online at The Nutritionist Reviews (www.nutritionistreviews.com), are a little flakey but oh so good. The leftovers can be served as loose granola in a bowl.
• 2 cups of rolled oats
• 1/3 cup almonds
• 1/4 cup peanut butter
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar free maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
• 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a mixed berry combo)
• 2 tablespoons water
1. Heat PB in the microwave for 15 seconds or until melted.
2. Pour all ingredients together in a baking pan and mix well.
3. Bake at 350 for about 20- 30 minutes depending on how chewy or firm you want your bars.
4. Take out of the oven and let cool completely. Cut into portions.
PIZZA MUFFINS WITH SMILEY FACES
Everyone likes pizza, right? Try making your own English Muffin pizzas with veggie toppings. Shape them like a smiley face for fun.
• 4 whole wheat English Muffins, split
• 1/3 cup pizza sauce
• Shredded mozzarella
• Slivers of green pepper
• Mushroom pieces
• Turkey pepperoni
Toast the muffins slightly in a toaster oven. Remove and place on a cookie sheet. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings. Put under the broiler in a traditional oven and melt the cheese. Serve.
Does your little one love ice cream? I first invented this recipe when I was trying to turn over a new leaf and give up ice cream. This smoothie tastes so good you'd think it's a milkshake. Nutritionally, it's full of health benefits: calcium in the milk, potassium-rich banana, and multiple anti-oxidants including Vitamin C from the strawberries, plus some healthy fiber! Mix it up in a blender, serve it in a festive cup, and decorate it with a cocktail umbrella!
• 1 cup low fat milk
• 1 frozen banana cut into 2 inch slices
• 1 cup fresh strawberries
Put the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Add more milk if needed. For a colder version, add a few ice cubes. How to freeze a banana: Peel the banana and cut it into 2 inch slices. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once they are frozen, move them to a plastic freezer bag and return to the freezer for use at a later time.
Sinea Pies is a contributing writer to the Rochester Area & Genesee Valley Parent Magazine. She lives in the Rochester area and often writes about organizing, parent & family, education, cooking, nutrition, faith, dogs and time management on her website Ducks 'n a Row.Www.ducksnarow.com