I am a firm believer of eating a balanced diet, not just vegetarian eating. Particularly for growing up children, they need all the nutrients to grow healthily. They need the meat to give them the protein and B vitamins to develop strong muscles and healthy nervous system. At the same time, they need lots of fruits and vegetables to provide their bodies with vitamins to fight against diseases.
Hence when my child began to wean, I began to add fruits, vegetables and meat into his diet. My child used to like vegetables until one day, when he was about two years old, he ate a piece of overcooked spinach that was bitter. His caregiver immediately said “vegetables chao chao, vegetables chao chao” which means “vegetables are stink”. She thought that was a fun way to joke and play with a child. Unfortunately, since then, whenever my child sees vegetables, he will feel like vomiting. Feeding him became pretty stressful because if he suspected that he had eaten a piece of vegetables, he may just vomit his entire meal that he had eaten.
Since then, not only do I have to put in extra effort to make the vegetables taste good, I have to cut the vegetables into extremely tiny pieces and hide them inside the rice or meat, add some soup or gravy over it to ensure that he does not taste the vegetables. It was tedious but I have also learned that my love for my child and desire for him to grow healthily could give me all the drives to go the extra mile to cook and feed him rightly. Some times as I walked in the food court and saw parents patiently feeding their toddlers, I realised that it is every parent’s desire to feed their children sufficiently, nutritiously and with delicious food for them to enjoy. It taught me that if earthly parents can be so delighted to see their children enjoying their food, how much more would my perfect Heavenly Father want to provide for all my needs.
As my child grew older and would eat by himself, I could no longer hide the vegetables inside his food. So I have no choice but to think of all sorts of creative ways to feed my child with vegetables. In this post, I will share with you 6 great ways to to successfully add vegetables to your kids’ diet. So even if your child detest vegetables, do not fret, you can still bring them up healthily.
- Blended Juice
This is the most effective method and the simplest of all. Mix both vegetables and fruits together so that the sweetness of the fruits will cover up the bitter chlorophyl of the vegetables. Choose a mixture of greens and cruciferous vegetables and add fruits such as pineapples, orange, berries to make a tasty blend. I choose to use a blender to blend the fruits and vegetables instead of using a juicer so that our kids get to eat the healthy fibre instead of just the juices which may contain too much sugar. However, one important thing to note is that raw vegetables should be taken in moderation. According to Chinese Medicine theory, to stay healthy, our body should be maintained at a balanced state, not to be too heaty nor too cooling. Raw vegetables are cooling in effect. Over consuming not only will not make a person healthier but will cause one to be more susceptible to influenza. For most people, having a cup of juice a day should be sufficient.
As children cannot over consume on raw vegetables, giving them a bowl of soup during meal time is ideal. You can make creamy leek or spinach soup and it taste great. Children will not taste the bitter chlorophyl. If you prefer clear soup, you can add broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrot and onion. When the vegetables are soft, you can mash it in the soup. Not only will it taste great, it is very nourishing especially if you cook the vegetables in some pork rib broth or chicken broth. If you do not have the time to cook the broth, you can buy miso and dashi stock from Japanese supermarkets to make a delicious and super healthy soup in less than 30 minutes.
- Fragrant Mixed Rice
This may be slightly more tedious in that you have to cut the vegetables into tiny bits. So using a mini-chopper to chop the carrot or cucumber will be helpful. To enhance the fragrance, you can add mushrooms, minced garlic and minced dried shrimps. If you stir fry the dried shrimps and minced garlic till fragrant, then add the chopped carrot, olives and mushrooms and stir fry till they are soft before you add other ingredients such as prawns, meat and finally the rice, I assure you, you will get a great dish. You can vary the ingredients by adding dried scallop in place of the dried shrimp. Or add olives for a more western style. You can also topped it with roasted Noni seaweeds and other Japanese rice toppings.
- Beef Bolognese
If your child is a meat lover and enjoys italian pasta, then the Beef Bolognese is a simple, tasty and super healthy dish which you can very easily cook for your child. The tomato pasta sauce is enriched with vitamin C and is a healthy sauce. All you have to do is to stir fry the minced beef and add the tomato sauce and it taste excellent. If you want a healthier option, then get ready minced garlic, minced onion, chopped mushroom and even blended tomatoes. Stir fry the garlic and onion until fragrant, add the chopped mushroom, add italian herbs, the blended tomatoes and then the beef. To enhance the taste, add Pego’ tomato pasta sauce, a little apple cider vinegar and salt to taste. This is an delicious and healthy dish for your child.
Dumplings are made with fillings of meat and vegetables. Depending on the type of dumplings, the vegetables used may be cabbage or chives. If you find it troublesome to make the dumplings, or expensive to eat them in restaurants, you can get good ready made frozen dumplings from the supermarkets. I always stock my refrigerator with at least a packet of Chinese or Japanese or Korean dumplings. Whenever my child is hungry at night, I can easily cook a healthy supper for my family.
Quiches is another great alternative.
So if you face a difficult situation when your child is picky with food, do not force them and make every meal time a scolding time. Remember that every problem can be solved if we explore creativity. We hope that through this website, we can share with young parents how we overcome some of the challenges we faced of our time. If you have some solutions to some problems, do write to us so that other parents can learn from you too.