Also, for kids. And for adults who come home from work tired (or managed the kids all day) and then have to cook.
Why is it so hard to get kids to eat vegetables?
- Because they don’t like to eat colorful food unless it’s colored with FD&C yellow #5 which they are used to consuming in cupcakes and mac n cheese*.
- Because they are afraid they might eat an aphid.
- Because they are terrified of getting full and consequently having no room for dessert.
- Because their poor palates are saturated with sugar and processed carbs (which are essentially sugar) and they are basically addicted.
Yes, folks, I know it’s been a hard quiz and your brain now hurts so I’ll give you the answer lest it turn into a migraine: #4. But seriously, you gotta wean them off it. Sugars are an easy sell. But the less of it they have, the more they will appreciate complex and subtle flavors. I promise. You can sue me if I’m wrong. 😝
In the meantime, the Good Food Fighter is here to save the day.
My kid, who eats practically everything, wouldn’t eat squash. Until. This. Happened.
Enter fresh squash. Preferably from a farm where it was recently picked, and not from Salinas, CA where factory organic produce comes from that’s been sitting on a truck till the flavor seeps out.
Here is my recipe for cheesy buttery salty squash:
- Slice into rounds and throw in a steamer for about 15 minutes till cooked to desired hardness.
- Cut a few chunks of grassfed butter. Throw in saucepan and heat.
- Transfer squash from steamer to saucepan. Add raw grated cheese, salt, and maybe pepper. Possibly garlic. Consider fresh basil. Keep lid on till everything turns into a yummy messy blob.
Keep it simple and basic. And each time you make it, offer an optional extra. Herbs add such great flavor, but kids’ sugared up palates need time to adjust. You could give them a hotdog (grassfed, nitrate-free) as a (probably) familiar companion food to make this hostile new dish go down more easily.
You can use other sauces, too.
You never know what they’ll like. Remember that the nutrients in vegetables are better absorbed if they are consumed with fat. Yes, really. Sour cream may sound disgusting, but if it helps it all go down, it’s worth it (check for nasty Food Fighter unapproved ingredients first). Try tomato sauce (with no sugar or preservatives). Or olive oil (extra virgin, first cold pressed) and organic soy sauce (not from China). My other favorite: chicken fat/juice from last night’s pan-baked pastured chicken. Very flavorful and full of good stuff. I often serve spaghetti squash with applesauce (no added sugar) and cinnamon. Sometimes I go wild and throw in a few (dark) chocolate chips which will melt into the mix.
And surprise! This will work with other vegetables, too.
I have been known to give my kid’s friends broccoli bathed in butter and cheese as an after-school snack. That’s what happens when there’s no chips or cookies in the house. They’re hungry, so they’ll eat. (Usually). And some friends ask for it by name, “Hey Nina, you crazy Food Freak, may I please have some of your delicious Vegetable Surprise?” Why yes you can.
And as for you, the wise, seasoned, experienced adult with the mature palate, you have no excuse. Just make it and eat it. Often. In front of your kids.😀
*For those of you who question the rant of an outraged mother and food blogger on food dyes, the Australian government and the British government have both banned them. Why not the U.S. Government? Special Interests is why. But now that you’re an informed citizen, read what’s in your cereal/cake mix/candy and don’t give these toxic food colorings to your kids.