I do not claim to have the secret to getting your kids to eat vegetables. Especially those in the 3 to 6 year old range; those are some willful and decisive little people. I do, however feel strongly that technique, having your kids help in the process, and presentation are all crucial components for getting our little ones to eat their vegetables. Here are 3 easy ways to cook vegetables, an almost embarrassingly simple chicken and veggie rice soup recipe, and a sure-fire way to get your spaghetti loving kids to eat any orange vegetable.
1. Saute/blanch in chicken broth: this feels a little old fashioned, but it’s worked wonders in our house. Fill a sauce pan and inch or so with chicken broth, get it nice and hot and then throw in your vegetable of choice. do not over cook. Kids can tell the difference when a vegetable has been cooked to mush; generally, they like it to still have a little snap and it’s beautiful bright color.
2. Steam in salted water: add salt to the water in the bottom of your pot, place veggies in steamer basket. steam until desired (no overcooking!) and then once cooled, drizzle olive oil and a light squirt of fresh lemon. sometimes we crumble a little feta cheese on top.
3. Roast with honey and butter: this is especially yummy with veggies like carrots. pull out those little baby carrots and toss in melted butter or olive oil, add sea salt, a dash of cumin and drizzle honey. Toss the carrots until they are well coated. roast in a 350 degree oven until they are very tender.
This little recipe requires some advanced prep but it’s super easy. This is our go-to-just-walked-in-the-door right at dinner time dinner. We use it in place of the frozen dinner options that sneak their way into our freezers, like chicken tenders or mac and cheese. It takes the same amount of time, has zero additives, and is an unprocessed deliciously healthy dinner. Its also really easy to make in an individual portion. So, if it’s just kids eating at the table you can easily make enough for just one or two.
To make ahead: I try to have cooked chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken (use later to make your own stock!) in the fridge during the week. I shred it and then throw it in soups, quesadillas, chicken chili or a quick stir fry. I make a batch of brown rice to keep in the fridge to stir fry or re-steam later.
In a saucepan, saute about 1.5 cups of broth. As it heats up throw in the vegetable (broccoli works well with this) and get it tender, then throw in the shredded chicken and the rice. Let simmer together for a few minutes and serve. Sometimes we grate a little Parmesan cheese for the top or throw spinach in at the end, but mainly I serve it as i. It’s always devoured.
I am not a huge fan of hiding vegetables in kids food, but sometimes we get stuck. We need to continue adding more color into our kids diet. This is a simple and tasty way to do so.
Steam or roast butternut squash and/or carrots. If I am roasting: I use olive oil, garlic, salt, peper, and a dash of cinnamon. Once they are steamed and/or roasted until super soft and tender, puree them. Save the puree by freezing it or fold the vegetable puree directly into a tomato based pasta sauce. My simple tomato sauce is whole cloves of garlic (to be removed later) sauteed in olive oil and a can of San Marzano tomatoes simmered until I can break them up in the pan. Use this sauce on spaghetti, in lasagna or as a pizza sauce. It barely changes the color, and I promise even your most discerning little buddy won’t notice!