In the early 1980’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed to categorize French fries and ketchup as vegetables. The suggestion was dropped partly due to complaints and outrage from nutritionists.
It is a challenge to get children to enjoy eating a vegetable, let alone several types of vegetables.
What is a parent or a caretaker to do?
The following are a few tips to help young taste buds:
1. When preparing cheese quesadias, grilled cheese sandwiches or macaroni and cheese, add flaxseed meal. Flaxseed contains high levels of natural antioxidants called lignans. Many plants and vegetables such as broccoli have lignans, but flaxseed has at least 75 times more than any other veggie. To get lignans that are in two tablespoons of flaxseed, one must consume nearly 30 cups of fresh broccoli.
2. Gradually replace table salt with garlic salt for the purpose of eventually using garlic. Children will hardly know the difference and eventually develop a preference for the taste of garlic. Then slowly start adding garlic to any appropriate dish. Yes, garlic is a vegetable and an herb. Garlic activates liver enzymes that help the body filter out toxins.
3. Instead of French fries, try baking yams sprinkled with a little cinnamon and brown sugar. Present it to the kids as a dessert. Remember to use the organic version if you can, as potatoes are listed in the top ten of the dirty dozen. Yams provide a very good source of potassium and fiber. They also offer a good source of vitamins B1, B6, and C.
4. Add spinach to lasagnas, soups, and stews. This green leafy vegetable packs a nutritional punch. Spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which helps reduce the risk of developing cataracts. It fights heart disease and cancer as well. Simply wash well, chop into smaller pieces and add to any favorite lasagna soup, or stew recipe.
5. Replace dips that are high in fat or sugars with hommus or baba ghannouj. Baba ghannouj is a mixture of eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin. It may sound a bit intimidating, but it is delicious and nutritious. Baba ghannouj can be found at the following Mother’s Kitchen delis: Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Santa Ana. Children as young as two or three dip crackers, carrots, or chips with baba ghannouj and say yummy! Hommus contains chickpeas also called garbanzo beans which are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.
Stay diligent. It may take up to 15 times before a child develops a liking to any food, unless it’s ice cream, candy, or french fries of course.