Mealtime might just be one of the toughest parts of being a parent.
One day -- your child loves peaches, the next day your child can't stand the sight of them. But it doesn't have to be such a hassle -- experts say it's all in the preparation.
'Operation: Get your kids to eat good food' begins with busy mama Andrea Kendrick, who's a registered dietitian with three young kids: 3-year-old Arianna, her twin brother Lincoln and their year-old brother Camden.
The challenge: getting her toddlers to eat and eat well. The goal: making sure it's a meal packed with the right nutrients.
"It's not just children that don't care for vegetables, it's adults, too. So try different cook methods. Try different dipping sauces, putting them into soups, pureeing them into things, grating them, steaming versus roasting versus raw," Kendrick said.
We put her kids to the test with different food prep techniques. First: We gave them raw veggies. Here's Kendrick's advice: "The raw broccoil, the raw carrots and these are actually raw butternut squash that look like crinkley fries. I just blanched those very quickly so that they could then be dipped into something like a Greek yogurt dill dip."
Second: Steamed: "Steamed broccoli, steamed carrots, both of these are seasoned. We have olive oil with a little salt and pepper, over here we have butter, dill, a little swig of honey and salt."
We also tried roasted, and finally we tried mixing vegetables into every day foods they love like pureed butternut squash in mac and cheese. Andrea made her own mac n' cheese with special noodles.
"This one right here is a chickpea lentil noodle and this one on this side is actually just a red lentil noodle. And there's black bean noodles and edamame noodles, and so lots of cool bean based noodles that have more fiber and more protein," Kendrick said. "And I went with the butternut squash because it's orange like cheese, broccoli wouldn't be so easy to hide."
The results: Andrea's kids loved the honey carrots, the mac n' cheese even the raw broccoli. They couldn't get enough! Some items were better than others, but overall Andrea's methods worked!
Adding salt and pepper, honey or olive oil to vegetables will make them taste better and make your kids eat more in turn.
"Staying consistent in offering them the vegetables. They aren't always going to be great at finishing their vegetables, although you're going to ask them to," Kendrick said. "But continuing to expose them daily so that they know to expect those vegetables at lunch and at dinner always. You're helping them to create those health habits."
So, cheers to happy kids and healthy eats.