If you have a child who won’t eat vegetables, here are some cooking ideas that might just change all that and you can get your kids eating veggies happily. Please do not expect an overnight miracle – remember to build up really slowly so young taste buds can adapt.
First Step – Purées
If your child refuses point blank to eat vegetables or anything resembling one, then you may need to start from scratch with vegetable purées. This is particularly important if they have a strong gag reflux or significant stomach acid issues. If you get the colour right then this can be hidden easily within a food they normally like to eat.
Peel and lightly fry or steam the vegetables and then blend the following combinations, freezing them in small quantities, such as in an ice cube tray. It important to blend with plenty of filtered water, stock or bone broth to make the purée smooth. We use a Nutribullet, which is a very powerful blender, and can take the stress out of getting the purée lump-free. For the super-fussy, start by adding the equivalent of one ice cube to each meal.
Red Veg Purée
This can hide in tomato sauces, curries, soups, meatballs, bolognaise or even things like spaghetti rings or baked beans. Using red pepper, swede, courgette and red onion, fry lightly in olive oil and purée before freezing.[/one_fourth]
White Veg Purée
Add to sweet or savoury pancakes, muffin mixes, or a bread recipe. This is a good starter for those who will only eat white/beige food. Combine white potato, celeriac and cauliflower, and steam until soft. Blend with the remaining mineral-dense steam water or freshly-made stock.
Green Veg Purée
If you don’t mind changing colour, this can go into pancakes, mashed potato, fish cakes, curries, shepherd’s pie, fish pie etc. Steam swede, cauliflower, courgette, broccoli and spinach. Blend with the remaining mineral dense steam water or freshly-made stock/bone broth.
Orange Veg Purée
Add to bolognaise, meatballs, shepherd’s pie, casseroles and stews as well as tomato sauces including spaghetti rings or baked beans. Steam carrot, butternut squash, orange pepper, cauliflower and swede. Blend with the remaining mineral-dense steam water or freshly-made stock.
Cauliflower rice/mash is becoming very popular, even amongst the celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver. It is very easy to make as long as you have pulse on your food processor. Remove the tough central stalk and pulse 10-15 times. Stir-fry in olive oil, coconut oil or ghee and add herbs or spices to give some taste.
These are noodles made from finely grated or julienned vegetables. To make curly-wurly longer noodles you can buy a Spiraliser easily online. We have one and the kids love it.
Courgettes seem to be the most popular zoodle option. For those kids who will not eat green food then peel the courgettes first. You can serve these noodles raw or gently fried in olive oil/coconut oil and garlic with basil.
All supermarkets now sell vegetable chips, including beetroot, parsnip and sweet potato. You can buy kale chips online and from large health food shops. If you have a dehydrator, these are simple to make and very moreish.
Juicing helps your child absorb all their nutrients from the vegetable, partly because it is in liquid form and partly because the process “pre-digests” the vegetables. This is important because most of the fussy eating kids have impaired digestion, and for all of them, it will give blood sugar satisfaction sooner. Blend softer fruits and vegetables/salad leaves together in a high-speed blender with some almond or coconut milk and make delicious smoothies. Use apple, carrot, pear, cucumber and lemon to make sweet-tasting vegetable juices.
Reusable Smoothie Pouches
You can now buy online some really nifty reusable and self-fillable baby fruit/veggie pouches, like these. You can add small amounts of vegetables to the fruit smoothies and sneak them into the pouches. With these you can be 100% in control of what your child is slurping out of their pouches.
Little Pasta organics pumpkin and carrot pasta sauce
Little pasta organics spinach and broccoli pasta sauce
Little pasta organics red pepper and ricotta pasta sauce
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Aren’t vegetable crisps too salty for young children?!
Salt only needs to be restricted in babies under 12 months – obviously we all need to be careful with eating too much salt as a whole!