Posts Tagged ‘veggies’

Getting Your Toddler to Try New Foods

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Getting your toddler to try new foodsWe all want our kids to love fruit, veggies, and other healthy foods. Each child is predisposed to liking different foods, and most kids go through picky phases where they assert their independence through rejecting the food you give them. So what can you do to help encourage healthy eating habits in the long run?

A new study done with schoolchildren in Australia indicated that no amount of “education” or telling kids that something is good for them really has any impact on what foods they eat. What did have an impact, however, was when they allowed children to try a variety of foods and talk about how they tasted, what they liked, and what they didn’t like.

Presentation matters, too. A Cornell study found that while adults preferred three groups of food and three colors on their plates, children preferred six colors and seven groups.

Another important factor is what the parents eat. Every mom can tell you that almost without fail, every child’s favorite food is whatever you are eating right now. If you’re not eating fruits and veggies, they won’t either.

Here are a few things you can do to help encourage healthy eating:

  • Take your toddler grocery shopping with you. Talk to them about the different food and let them pick out something that is “their” special snack. Try a new fruit or veggie each time you go and let them try it as soon as you get home.
  • Let your toddler help you cook. I know, toddlers, cooking? Disaster! There are ways to do this that won’t make you want to pull out your hair. You can premeasure or precut the portion that your toddler is helping with, and let them dump or throw the item in the pot or dish. Allow them to sample safe ingredients, like veggies, if possible. At dinnertime, gush over how your child “made dinner.” They will be so proud, and also more likely to eat what they helped make.
  • Bring home new things to try. Bring home a new fruit or veggie from the grocery store each week for your child to try. If your toddler is older, talk to them about how the new food tastes, feels, and what they like or don’t like about it. Talk about the different things you can make with it. One time my oldest saw a whole coconut at the store and asked if we could buy it. Of course, I almost automatically said no. But we bought it, looked up how to get it open, tasted the coconut milk, and found a recipe to use it in. It was a fun learning experience for us both. Put the emphasis on trying new foods and not just liking or eating it all.
  • Have healthy foods available for snacking. It really kills me when my 4-year-old grabs an apple out the bowl, takes five bites, and leaves it. But at least she’s eating apples. Keep healthy food around when your kids ask for snacks. It will help curb snacking and also help them learn about seasonal foods as the snacks change from season to season.

One thing I discovered worked in our house was when I put a new veggie only on the adult plates and not on my daughter’s when we ate dinner together. I initially did this because of the pediatrician’s recommendation that we introduce new foods slowly to watch for reactions. My daughter immediately noticed the new food and wanted a bite. I marveled at this happy accident that had led my tiny child to beg for bites of broccoli, spinach, zucchini, squash, green beans, and every other veggie I could make. She wanted anything that I had on my plate that she didn’t. It worked with all three kids, although my middle child has become pickier now, and I can’t really explain why.

No one strategy—eating healthy while pregnant, making your own baby food—will guarantee any kid is a healthy eater. But all these little things together can help encourage a lifetime of healthy eating by getting your child off to a strong start.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

Tasty Tuesday: Veggie Kabobs

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Summer time in Chicago means making a big old plate of Veggie Kabobs for my family members. The tradition started several years back when preparing for a family grill out, my mom asked me what we (myself and the kids) would eat since we don’t eat meat. No problem, I said, I can make some veggie kabobs.

Turns out the veggie kabobs were a big hit with my extended meat eating family. Even my older brother who is a die-hard carnivore loved them. When he first put a few kabobs on his plate he points to a chunk of tofu and asked me if it was cheese. Knowing if I told him it was tofu he wouldn’t touch it, I brushed him off with a casual “yeah, kind of”. Later he says to me “That cheese was really good grilled like that“. At that point I did confess it was tofu! We still tease him about it every year when we have our family grill out.


2 Red Peppers

2 Zucchinis

1 Large Onion

12-15 mushrooms

4 red potatoes

1 package of extra firm tofu (be sure to select a non-GMO, organic variety)

Marinade Ingredients:

1/2 cup of olive oil

3-4 cloves of crushed garlic

Juice from 1 lime (or more to taste)

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons of your favorite all-purpose seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

12+ skewers


Boil potatoes until they can be pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool. Pre-boiling the potatoes allows them to grill for the same length of time as the other veggies. If you don’t pre-boil potatoes before grilling you will end up with burnt veggies and soft potatoes or perfect veggies and hard potatoes. 🙂

Mix marinade ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Cut all veggies (including cooled potatoes) and tofu into large bite size chunks. You don’t want to cut them too small because they will then be hard to place on the skewers or fall off while grilling. Put veggies and tofu in a large container that has a lid (ie- Tupperware, corningware, pyrex, etc) and pour marinade over them. Close container with lid and shake to evenly coat veggies and tofu. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least a half hour or up to several hours.

When done marinading, thread veggies and tofu onto skewers and grill for approximately 10 minutes. Serve with a side of quinoa or brown rice.

*If you are hosting a BBQ, veggie kabobs offer a nice alternative for any potential vegetarian guests. So skip the over-priced, over-processed, pre-packaged veggie burgers and grab some fresh veggies and tofu to grill instead. Not only are they healthier and tastier, they look amazing!


Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Vegetable Broth

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

I started making my own vegetable broth about a year ago. Each time I make it I’m still pleasantly surprised at how simple and delicious it is. Another added bonus is that it is cheaper than store bought varieties and uses virtually no packaging making it an economical and ecological alternative. Also it is hands-down ten times tastier than canned or boxed vegetable broth. Here’s a super basic recipe to try however you can honestly use just about any assortment of veggies and it will turn out fine. In fact making broth is a great way to use up veggies that are about to spoil because you can easily freeze the broth for later. Hardly any prep time is required since the veggies need very little chopping. You can also leave the skins on the onions and potatoes, however if you want to consume the cooked veggies, it’s better to remove them in advance.


3 to 4 (or more according to taste) bulbs of garlic

2 onions (quartered)

1/2 bunch of celery

4 carrots

4 potatoes (any variety, including sweet potatoes)

1/2 bunch of cilantro and/or parsley

2 bay leaves

8-10 whole peppercorns

1 tablespoon salt (more or less to taste)

*The above list of ingredients is for a very basic broth. You can add leeks, mushrooms, turnips, greens, herbs, or whatever else you have on hand to your broth and it will be equally delicious! 🙂


Place all veggies in large stock pot. Fill water to completely cover the vegetables. Bring to a full boil. Reduce heat and allow to gently simmer for about an hour. Strain vegetables (can be discarded or consumed) and enjoy! It’s really THAT easy.