I, not surprisingly, end up in conversations about food and kids. What will the child eat, what will they not eat, how do they experience new things. It’s such a heavy thing for parents because we want to do right by our child but it’s not easy (especially as they develop their own palate).
For example, my son proclaimed that sweet potatoes taste like garbage (his exact words) and that the pasta I made last night tasted rotten. I’ve learned to accept this and work with what he does like, which luckily is quite a bit.
I will also say, I never try to hide vegetables. He knows what we’re eating and understands the raw/cooked forms. The only time I hide vegetables is when I’m trying to sneak winter squash past my husband. We try and keep excited. Vegetables are always a part of our meals.
One of the things I felt best suited us is that he eats what we eat and I require that he at least try it. If he takes a bite and chews it, I know he liked it (contrary to his words). If he wants to spit it out, I know he really didn’t like it. Over the years, I’ve found a few general recipes that I know will almost always be a hit (with really any kind of vegetable). I live by the idea that it doesn't pay to push and that persistence helps.
I will also say, if you’re really looking into the world of feeding tiny humans, Sara from The Sprouted Kitchen is wonderful and has a few posts on this that can be found in her recipe section under 'feeding babies.' Pop over there and check that out as well.
I love this medium. There’s cheese, there’s an easy way to add protein (beans), and the vegetable variations are endless. I’m stuffing the enchiladas with greens and roasted vegetables while the quesadillas are the perfect for finely diced vegetables and beans.
- Spinach and Pinto Bean Quesadillas
- Pinto Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas(He’ll eat these sweet potatoes!)
- Black Lentil Enchiladas
- Delicata Squash Black Bean tacos
Handheld food! What child can resist something they can eat with their fingers with messy dip? Best of all, fritters are an easy win for everyone in the family and I’ve found ways to make them year-round. We usually use hummus or yogurt sauce as a dip and combine it with a salad (or sliced vegetables for my son). Also, leftovers pack great the next day for lunch!
This one surprised me a bit but my son loves soup, especially tomato soup and chili. With the weather turning a bit cooler, I’m excited for weekly soup dinners. I keep the soups kind of mild but still add in spices where I can (this lentil stew is a surprising hit but it helps he gets excited about cinnamon!) Get a bit of crusty bread and you’re good to go!
- Sweet Corn Soup (I leave the hazelnuts off for kids)
- Spiced Lentil Stew
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
- Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup
- Bulgur Veg Chili
It’s probably no surprise that pasta can be an easy win. I go heavy on the vegetables and always pair the pasta with salad. I like to mix up the sauces and occasionally I’ll add a handful of chickpeas to the dish, just to help bulk up on protein.
- Summer Pasta
- Pea Pasta
- Broccoli Pesto Pasta (I love this broccoli pesto on any kind of pasta)
- Peanut Sauce Bowls (Sans the spice level)
- Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
The surprising one: risottos are like creamy pasta (at least that’s what I tell my son). Similar to pasta, a risotto is a great way to eat whole grains and tons of vegetables. Play around with cheese or take it vegan with the help of sunflower cream.
- Carrot Risotto (without the pea shoots)
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Einkorn Asparagus Risotto (I chop the asparagus ahead for the kids)
Finally, there’s always fried cheese. An easy way to please the whole family, halloumi is eaten quite a bite in our home. There’s tacos, there’s skewers, there’s burrito bowls- how can you not love it?
This was very fun to read and the recipes look great. I totally agree with you on not being "sneaky" with the kids as it is not the relationship I want to have with them. I also feel their involvement in the kitchen and shopping is necessary to help them make friends with veggies.
The quinoa and spinach fritter cakes are a big hit with my son. I put them inside a tortilla wrap, with the garlicky sauce with chopped cucumber and more spinach. A hearty pack lunch.