By Julia Moravcsik, PhD, author of Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food
Children will like a brand new vegetable better if it is served in a dish that they already love. Start early by giving your child dishes that are versatile in their ingredients. Cheese sauce, for example, is loved by many children, and can be poured over practically any vegetable. Once your child loves 5 or 6 versatile dishes, you can use them to introduce new vegetables.
Here are some versatile dishes that children love:
Cheese Sauce: (not the nasty powdered stuff that comes in packaged mac & cheese, but the homemade version): To make, add a few tablespoons of flour to 1/4 to 1/2 stick of melted butter or 1/4 cup olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring. Add about a cup of milk. Stir and cook until it boils and becomes thick. Then add 1/2 to 1 cup grated sharp cheddar.
Lemon butter: Melt some butter in the microwave. Add a few squeezes from a fresh lemon slice. (Alternatively, you can use olive oil instead of butter, or lime juice instead of lemon.)
Simple Delicious Vinaigrette and Shredded Parmesan: Mix extra virgin olive oil with about half as much balsamic vinegar. Pour it over salad or other raw or lightly cooked and cooled vegetables. Sprinkle with a large helping of shredded (not grated) parmesan.
You can also find "dishes" at your supermarket. A child who loves ketchup, for example, can pour ketchup on almost anything and love it.
You can find good quality salad dressings at the produce section. You can use sour cream or yogurt as a dip.
Don't be afraid of the fat content of your versatile dishes. Young children need more fat than adults. In addition, the fat helps absorb some of the valuable nutrients in vegetables.
Once your child learns to love a few versatile dishes, you can use them as a gateway to new vegetables and other healthy foods.
For more on this topic, see Put Ketchup on Everything
Would you like a simple, easy-to-follow program that will teach your child to love healthy food? See my new book Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food on amazon.com.
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