Children who would eat everything that is set in front of them at the table are virtually extinct…or I think I will be so right in saying that such a species never existed!! No, No…..never existed.
I remember my mum giving us an ultimatum that we will not be able to move our butts off the dinner table till those greens and veggies we had so conveniently set aside on our plates are not gobbled up. And gobble up we did, gulping them down with a glassful of water. I try and do the same to my kid today, and see a stomping of feet and and a river of crocodile tears and I shamefully have to let go. I have to learn some lessons in motherhood I guess.
However, on the hindsight to fight with the inefficiency of not being assertive enough (sigh!!) I have to pat myself on my back for having learnt a few tips and tricks that help me give her what I like without her even knowing it, and it is my pleasure to share the same with you. It certainly takes a little preparation and you will see yourself serving your kids a flurry of dishes that they just love and still manage to retain your own happiness. So here I am sharing my secret to being a happy mom.
1. Puree, puree and more puree. It is time to give the blender a dust. Be as innovative as you have never been in your life. Boil up the veggies (anything and everything) and puree them and freeze them in small batches. Maybe once in 15 days. Remember, the trick is to keep the colour consistent. Carrots and pumpkins together, can very conveniently go into pizza sauces, pasta base, soups of their choice, add a tspn to pancake batter, chappati dough or their favourite curry. Likewise, zuchinni, pumpkin and be done together. The trick is to retain the original colour of the dish they like but still be able to add these purees here and there. Meat and mushrooms go very well, add in mushrooms with the ground meat or casseroles, and they sure wont know. Don’t be over enthusiastic and add so much that the kids will find out something is wrong!!
2. Smoothies – These are the best places you can sneak in some fruits and even veggies. Like add a piece of avocado to that chocolate smoothie. Half a pear to the banana shake, or bananas to chocolate milk, try a grapes smoothie or a beetroot. A bluberry or a strawberry shake will also camouflage something in a lighter shade like a zuchinni or a white pumpkin or a mix of fruits. You will have to remember to be patient, have a lot of love and patience at that. Experiment first, if they like it make it again – but then remember they can change their liking as quickly as they dump a toy right after the toy shop!!!
3. Bake them in – a carrot muffin can also easily hide a zuchinni or a little pumpkin puree. A chocolate cake will definitely accommodate a little beetroot which is pureed. Infact, a chocolate cake will accommodate a lot of other stuff – applesauce, a little grape puree, avocado, pumpkin. Anything in moderation will surely blend well . Just remember not to overdo it.
4. Freeze them out – add fruits and veggies pureed into yoghurt and freeze them into popsicle moulds to serve as a eye catching desserts. Drizzle them with their favourite chocolate or strawberry sauce.
5. Mix and match - Mix a handful of healthy cereals to their sugary cereals. They really wont mind if their cereals still retain the sweet and sugary stuff. Make the use of the blender if they are still fussy. Just grind the good stuff and add into their milk just before the sugary stuff goes in. Give a slice of white and a slice of wholemeal bread. Lots of mixing ideas here.
6. Talk and get them involved. Kids love to be a part of what you do. Use them in the kitchen to do tiny bits like brushing the tray, making a few cookies, cleaning the veggies. When they are involved in cooking they are most likely to eat it too. Just keep saying how delicious the food they cooked is!! Make the food interesting….carrots help you have sharp eyes, fish helps your hair to grow longer, greens make you strong like superman. Talking rather than shouting goes a long way. Oh, and don’t forget the rewards please. Always give a reward for finishing a meal. You need go and buy a whole toystore but a little goes a long way. A sticker, a pencil they like, a lollipop. Anything.
7. Have the kids eat with you. Try and merge mealtimes.. You will see a marked difference in the kids eating habbits. They like to eat what you are eating and this will also teach them in being independent because they will make attempts to eat by themselves. Kindly cooperate.
Phew. ….thats a long list of to do !! If you can even incorporate a few of the above into your kitchens I am sure you will be rewarded by having the satisfaction of seeing your kids eat good and healthy food. Hey, bring your ears closer…..you can even try this with grown up kids who are picky eaters!!! You really don’t have to tell them.
Am sharing a bread pizza which my kid happily eats and I hope yours will too. If I say I dont love it, it would be denia.
2 wholegrain bread slices cut into small rounds
For the sauce
2 tbspn tomato paste (cooked)
1 tspn mayonnaise
¼ tspn mixed herbs
4 tbspn of any veg puree
1 tbspn ketchup
A little mustard for flavour
2 pods garlic (grated finely)
Mix of grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese
Any veggies or ham they happily eat.
For the sauce
Add a tspn of olive oil and first saute the garlic, then heat the tomato paste and one by one add in the ketchup, mayo, mustard and the herbs. Let this cook for a minute or so, but not too much
On a slow flame heat a pan. The flame should be really low.
Butter one side of the bread and on the other side spread the sauce liberally.
Top with cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella slices just torn roughly). Add whatever else your kids fancy.
Now carefully place this pizza on a pan with a very low flame
Use a lid and let that crisp from below and the cheese melt on a low flame it will take about 5 minutes.
Drizzle a little olive oil and serve to kids.