Calvin went through a period where he would only eat things that started with “ch.” Cheese, chicken, Cheerios, cherries, Cheetos, chocolate. Some of those weren’t exactly my first picks, as far as teaching my child healthy eating habits.
Gozer ate everything that was edible from the time he figured out how to masticate. He eschewed the puree, though, so I had to give him solid food from the beginning. But he was really non-discriminating as to what variety of solids he was offered. In fact, he would hyperventilate and start to wail if anyone had the gall to eat in front of him and not share. Sometimes he got himself a bowl of salsa, because I was too afraid to give him the chips, what with the lack of teeth. He happily ate his salsa. Pretty soon, everything was salsa. Including maple syrup. Can I have some salsa on my pancakes? Then, everything became syrup, or see-bop. Can I have some see-bop on my tater tots?
Gozer was the perfect child. He slept 21 hours a day from birth, went to bed awake and waved at me, slept through the night at 2 months, sucked his little thumb so he never cried, and ate everything I ever gave him. Then, when he turned 2, he somehow decided there would be no more vegetables or fruit for him. I didn’t really press the issue, thinking it would last only a few days. Ha, ha. He will be 3 in three months. I have discovered a few preparations that he will eat, and a few ways to trick him. This is helpful, since Calvin needs tricking too.
Almost any vegetable is improved greatly in flavor and texture with a thorough roasting. Fingerling potatoes are the current favorite, with olive oil, salt, and dried rosemary, since my rosemary in the garden froze to death a few degrees back. Cauliflower undergoes a marvelous transformation when roasted. Instead of being disgusting and smelly, it becomes nearly as addictive as french fries. I am not kidding. My boys start begging for it the second it is out of the oven. The burn their little tongues and beg for more. Winter squash is also sweet and lovely when roasted. Acorn squash can be sliced horizontally to make cute flowers, and the skin is even edible.
I have discovered lately that I love greens. Chard, collards, kale, etc. I chop up ruby chard and saute it in olive oil, then put it in a frittata, which Gozer calls “pie.” We have pie for dinner all the time, with a side of roasted potatoes or cauliflower.
A good way to get some spinach into them is to make a soup of yellow split mung beans with some ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, and chopped spinach. Serve it over rice, add curry powder or cayenne pepper for the husband, and they love it. In fact, my two love just about any form of beans and rice, so I have lots of variations on the theme. Lentil and rice soup with Italian sausage (and carrots and celery), Black beans with cumin and coriander, Mexican style, maybe with some cheese on top.
That said, I am always open to new and inspiring ways of getting kids to eat their veggies. Any ideas?