How do you go getting your family to eat their veggies? For many families it seems to be a big struggle. Here are a few tips to help ‘grow’ a love of veggies in your family. Rest assured that healthy fats from avocado, slow cooked meats and fresh fruit are a great base and over time, as we change our ‘vibe’ around veggies, so will their love grow.

1. Love veggies yourself. Be the example who visibly chomps on raw carrot sticks and beet / guac dip and say how super yummy it is. Show as much if not MORE enthusiasm for veggies as ‘treats’. We tend to as a culture get our kids ballistically excited about ‘that special cupcake’ and then sternly say ‘eat your veg’. The messaging is all wrong and no wonder the result is that kids might turn their noses up at the food they’re supposed to eat and chase the thrill ride foods instead… Start to be super mindful of your tone. Don’t commend your kids to eat something standing up and pointing down at them. Control issues will quickly creep up. If this is already happening in your family, please don’t feel bad if things don’t change in a day. Baby steps and a slow and steady wins the race will leave you and the little one happy about the changes, rather than stressed.

2. Take your kids to a market and let them choose the veggies. Then cook the veggies with them – taste some raw, talk about texture, then cooked, then letting them stir in the butter… We seem to mainly let our kids in the kitchen to cook with us when it’s cake making time. If they’re part of the every day cooking, they’ll be much more inclined to have a go at stuff they’ve made the effort to cook. No age is too young. My son used to stir (assisted by me, he’s no boy genius!) his purees from 4 months in the Bjorn. Affirm their choices “Nice one with the carrots today Jimmy, they’re so super crunchy, aren’t they? Such a great choice!”. Kids want to be rewarded, not told off so again it’s about changing that conversation and tone around Real Food.

3. Purée isn’t just for babies. It’s a great way to break up the boring old 3 steamed veg texture at meal time. Invest in a good stick blender or vitamix / thermomix type tool that you’ll have for years and years and make ultra delicious, super smooth mashes and purées, packed with veggies. We sometimes do half cauliflower / half beet and then the little guy gets to swirl them in to make rainbow mash. Pumpkin, zucchini, fennel, sweet potato, broccoli… They all purée / mash really well when well cooked first. Just add generous butter and or coconut cream / additive free cream and a pinch or two of celtic sea salt and you get filling, luscious mashes and purées packed with vitamins and healthy fats to absorb them all.

 Ditching the fake stuff…

1. Don’t have ‘fall back’ fake stuff at home. Are you guilty of ‘if there’s a block of chocolate in the house, I’ll eat the whole thing’? Well, your kids are no different. Sugar and chemically engineered ‘lab made treats’ are designed to have us yearning for them. Outta sight, outta mind!

2. Stop saying ‘healthy and unhealthy’. Our culture currently sees healthy as boring food and unhealthy food as the super exciting, off the hook tasty food that our education system calls ‘sometimes food’. Make the move to saying ‘fake food and real food’. Much easier for kids to understand. If they ask for a packet while out, say “Shall we see if it’s fake food or real food together? Let’s see if it passes your detective test!” Then read out the numbers and strange sounding ingredients and ask them “Does that sound like real food or fake food? Shall we go home a make a REAL batch of biscuits instead?”

3. Be the change around your family and friends and have people over or host the kids’ party with lots of delicious real treats. Pinterest has loads of ideas as does my e-book ‘Real Treats‘. Once people realise that real food is delicious, there’s less resistance to your ‘new ways’. It’s about discovery, not deprivation.

Let’s stop making food a stranger to us and get Real.

 

Alexx x

www.alexxstuart.com