Why is it after kids come into our lives we assume we have to give up the foods we love? Yes, kiddos require our time, but that doesn’t mean we are now destined for a lifetime of sandwich crusts and frozen nuggets… does it?
I say NO!!
If we feed our kids what we eat from the beginning they won’t constantly question what is placed in front of them. Most of us skipped this step in the name of convenience. We find ourselves backtracking and fighting a battle we weren’t prepared for. My solution (that has been a project for 5 years now) is simple:
Add new (healthier) items a little at a time.
When I add in new and unfamiliar foods I tend to mix them with our boys favorites. They are often speechless when I admit what is in the soup or enchilada they are enjoying so much. Don’t get me started on the amount of “desserts” that have left them mouth agape and in shock!
Last night was a reminder of why I keep trying. I’ve been craving artichokes and our kids claim to hate them. 2 have never even tried them! I found a recipe and doctored it so it would be dairy-free for our 1 son. I cooked bow-tie pasta (keep it fun, right?!) in vegetable broth with a few Tablespoons of dairy-free cream cheese. Then I tossed in finely chopped artichoke hearts. Last step was throwing in several handfuls of spinach until wilted. I served it up without a word and crossed my fingers.
I heard the first “OH! This is GOOD Mom!” followed by a “Wow! How did you make this?!” and then across from me, our youngest with a full mouth and wide eyes, let out a “MMMMMM!!!”.
I showed them the can after we ate and explained what was in their dinner. Despite the look of defeat on their faces they all requested I keep this recipe in our rotation. Artichokes for the win!!
Not every experiment will end this way, but don’t give up. The more they try, the more they will find they enjoy. Just as they are growing, their taste-buds are exploring and changing. They might prefer one vegetable raw and another cooked. Make the time for them to try them both ways. I always tell our kids that it is fine as long as they are eating the rainbow.
They have come a long way in 5 years. My husband and I are happily reaping the benefits. Healthier us, healthy kids and grown-up (but fun and tasty!) meals.
Remember, taste is a major way that kids experience the world. As they develop, so do their taste-buds. There will probably be confusing and frustrating moments, but control yourself and keep trying.