Getting kids to try new vegetables is the bane of many a parent’s life, including mine. I’ve got two children who are VERY selective about which vegies they will deign to touch, let alone consume (and naturally they each like different vegetables). Then I have one child who will try just about everything, aka ‘The Garbage Disposal’.
A few years ago, in a moment of despair about one child’s carb-heavy diet, I took her to see a dietitian. Reassuringly, she said we were doing all the right things and that my daughter’s obsession with white foods (carbs and dairy) was very common.
Her top tips? Keep offering lots of variety and colour and Don’t. Give. Up. Make a big fuss when kids try new foods, and serve lots and lots of fruit if they don’t eat vegetables. I try to remember this when my creative cooking gets the thumbs down from all three kids.
It’s so tempting to give children the same things night after night. But I want to keep fighting the good fight, and lately I’ve been experimenting with simple vegie side dishes and salads.
To fit the bill, the salad or vegetable dish in question must take less than 10 minutes to prepare, require no fancy equipment or unusual ingredients, and combine a few different textural elements: sweet, crunchy, soft (can you tell I’ve been watching too much Masterchef?). I usually serve them alongside an easy-to-prepare protein like sausages, steak, chicken, meatballs etc.
Here are three of my recent successes:
Parmesan & pear salad
Finely chop half an iceberg lettuce. To serve, top with thinly sliced pear and shavings of parmesan. (Optional: a nice vinaigrette or creamy dressing).
Lemony broccoli & almonds
Chop one head of broccoli into florets and cook in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drain well. To serve, place broccoli on a platter and drizzle with lemon-infused olive oil and scatter with a handful of slivered almonds and a little sea salt. (Tip: I like the lemon-infused Australian extra virgin olive oil from Cobram Estate which you can get at supermarkets).
Carrot, cranberry & pepita salad
Peel and grate 2 large carrots. To serve, scatter dried cranberries and pepitas over the top. (Optional: drizzle over a honey-based dressing).