By Julia Moravcsik, PhD, author of Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food
Plopping a bunch of raw broccoli on your child's plate will rarely work. Plain vegetables aren't usually very interesting. Cultures that eat a lot of vegetables, like Chinese and French, know ways of transforming the vegetables into delicious multi-ingredient dishes.
Don't feel like you have to feed your child plain vegetables. Make them as interesting as you can.
One way to do this is to make tasty homemade dips and let your child dip her vegetables into the dip. Toddlers and preschoolers especially love to dip. It makes a meal into a fun art project!
Researchers have found that providing dips with vegetables encourages children to eat them, especially those who are genetically sensitive to bitter tastes.
Once you have found a few dips that your child loves (and fed them to her enough times to overcome her natural initial resistance), you can use the dips to introduce new vegetables. Anything will taste good if it's plunged into your child's favorite dip.
Don't worry about the fat content of dips. Young children -- and possibly even up to teenagers -- need good fatty acids to build their brains.
Here are some quick recipes and ideas for dips:
- sour cream (add chopped herbs or salsa)
- olive oil and balsamic vinegar with finely diced herbs and garlic
- black bean dip
- peanut butter (broccoli and peanut butter? Whatever works!)
- ketchup (also weird, but whatever works!)
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