Foodie Friday; Pepper Pizzas
This month our youngest chefs in Growing Healthy Kids are talking about healthy snacks. This week we focused on VEGGIES – which is why they made Pepper Pizzas! One of the biggest issues I hear from parents is how difficult it is to get their child to eat vegetables. There are some very simple strategies to getting a child to eat more veggies.
1. Build Off Their Favorite Foods
Every child has their favorite foods/flavors. Often, much to a parent’s dismay, that is constantly changing with eating only one thing for a period of time and then suddenly switching to another. I always found this switch happened right after I would stock up on that one favorite thing….While this is often a source of frustration to parents, I tell them to use it to their advantage. For example, most kids love pizza. In this recipe we are capitalizing on that by turning our veggies into that pizza! It has all the flavors they love, with an extra dose of vegetables!
Often I hear “but all my child wants to eat is sweets”. You can even capitalize on that, I promise! For example, one of our Jr Chef all time favorite recipes is zucchini coffee cake – tastes like dessert, but is packed full of zucchini.
*While I AM a fan of packing in all the extra veggies, I am NOT a fan of “sneaking” them in and lying to your child. This will only build a distrust and create further push back to meal time. Be honest. Explain to your child that you are trying new ways to get vegetables in to help them grow, but in ways that they will enjoy eating them.
2. Empower Your Child
Provide options in a controlled way. Often times the reason why a child refuses food is about exerting power and control over their bodies. Allow them to do this in small ways so they feel a sense of control without the need for battles. With our Pepper Pizzas, we allow children to choose the color pepper for their base, and then whatever toppings they want to add. Encourage them to be as creative as they want. They can add mushrooms, onions, broccoli, olives, pepperoni, different kinds of cheeses, seasonings, fresh herbs, even pineapple!
3. Involve Your Child
Involve your child in the cooking process. Everything from choosing a recipe (Sometimes an either or decision is best!) to chopping, mixing, cooking, and plating/serving. When a child has invested their time and care in a recipe, they are much more likely to eat it. Especially when they see others enjoying the fruits of their labor and giving praise for a job well done.
These are a few of my top tips for getting your child to eat more vegetables. There are many tools we can pull from in this arena – don’t give up! If this is a topic you are interested in diving into more, let me know! We can offer an online workshop on this topic to help parents.