No Need to Hide

No need to hide.

Let’s be open and honest. We want our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some people would lead you to believe that “hiding” fruits and vegetables in food is one way to do this. I would suggest that this is wrongly put.

When we prepare food for our children and families we have a list of ingredients that we combine to create nutritious meals. This includes many items, fruits, vegetables, grain foods, protein foods, etc. so adding vegetables to a sauce, soup or casserole is just adding nutritious ingredients to the foods we provide to our families. Therefore “No Need to Hide”.

Your goal is to include at least five (5) one-fourth cup servings for kiddos under 5 years of age or five (5) one-half cup servings of fruits and vegetables for your school aged child. It is good to have goals and to have a plan to help you meet those goals.

Telling someone to eat more fruits and vegetables / to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetable every day is all well and good. The hard part about that is how does someone do it?

It takes thoughtfulness: give some thought to the foods the members of your family prefer. Ask them to write down their favorite foods. Ask them to write down their least favorite foods. Ask them why they like or do not like these foods. Is it the taste? Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, smoky, earthy? Is it the texture? Smooth, crunchy, mushy, slippery, chewy? Once you have this information take it and expand it. Does your child like French fried potatoes? If they like the skinny fast food kind, try the fat (steak fries) kind. Try other French fried vegetables. Try a Baked version.

It takes planning: remember Home Economics? Well if you do, you might remember that meal planning was part of the course. In our Grab and Go world, this may seem Old School, but it is one of the best tools to increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy foods your family eats.

It takes team work: Including the involved parties in the decision making improves buy in. What this means for families, is that if you include your kids in the planning, shopping, and cooking, they will be more engaged and more likely to try the food prepared as a family.

 It takes time: Rome wasn’t built in a day, meaning that building good eating habits takes time. It has been said that parents should expect to offer new and novel foods to a child up to 30 times before acceptance occurs. So do not worry, give up, give in until you have hit that number.