I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville wife and mother with a passion for family travel, (mostly) healthy cooking, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries with you, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark.
September 23, 2011
It’s time for me to confess yet another of my many failings as a mother.
Despite our family trips to the farmer’s market, the hours and hours I’ve spent culling the tastiest vegetable recipes I could find from magazines, cookbooks, and the Internet, despite the many ways I’ve let the kids get involved in the making of dinner and the food group books I’ve read to them and the healthy food games we’ve played together countless times… Despite ALL of this…
My kids HATE vegetables.
In fact, hate doesn’t even seem like a strong enough word to describe the way they feel about vegetables.They loathe them. They abhor them. They despise them.
It’s a problem.
I really don’t want to force them to eat their vegetables the way I (and pretty much everyone else I know) was forced as a kid– because as a result, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I discovered vegetables could be prepared in a way that made one actually want to eat them. A few years ago, I truly believed that I could convince my children over time that broccoli, particularly when covered in homemade cheese sauce or baked in a lovely pie, was really wonderful. And all carrots needed was a little ranch dressing or maple glaze to make a terrific snack or side dish. And cauliflower, steamed and mashed and drizzled with brown butter, actually tasted even better than mashed potatoes!
My children saw through every single one of these disguises.
Although I persist in making vegetables every night for dinner and can generally convince them to take at least a bite or two, the comment I generally hear is this:
Occasionally accompanied by dry heaving.
WHAT’S A MOM TO DO?!
Well, you know me, what do you think I did?
I kept trying.
Why? Because the obesity rate among children these days is TOTALLY FREAKING ME OUT. It has become all too clear to me that if I want my children to maintain a healthy weight both now and as adults, I need to teach them how to appreciate (and eventually, how to prepare) healthy foods. I will never be one of those health food nuts, but I am making an effort to seriously reduce processed and pre-prepared foods in their diets, and to keep introducing fresh fruits and vegetables in their meals UNTIL THEY LIKE THEM, DAMMIT.
In the meantime, though, I decided to launch a top-secret, undercover operation. Last night, I threw a bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower into the microwave, pureed it in my food processor (adding a tiny bit of cream to make it smooth) and kneaded it into the ground sirloin I had on hand for their dinner. To my surprise, it blended right into the meat. I planned to add only enough to not change the meat’s color and consistency, and was delighted to find that I was able to get most of the bag into four burgers.
I sauteed the burgers in a little olive oil, added the usual Montreal Steak Seasoning, and dressed them the way the kids like them (cheese and mayonnaise for Bruiser, lots of ketchup for Punky). The results?
As for me, I could not stop laughing. My kids were totally eating more than a serving each of BROCCOLI and CAULIFLOWER. Neener, neener, neener!!
Kids? You were PWNED.
I had tried pureeing vegetables before after getting a copy of Deceptively Delicious, but it was way too complicated and involved– I was trying so hard to be all Jessica Seinfeldy and get fresh, organic vegetables and clean them and cut them up and steam them and puree them. By the time I had done all that, I was too exhausted to think about adding them to ANOTHER recipe.
A bag of plain, frozen vegetables, however?
I’LL TAKE IT.
It’s better than nothing, right?
I’m already scheming about the many other dishes I can add pureed veggies to– cauliflower in their pizza and cheese quesadillas. Carrots in their favorite meatballs. Peas in their ice cream…
Okay. That may be pushing it.
I’m sure I’m not alone here, though. Have you had any success tricking your kids into eating healthy foods? What are your secrets? I’m on a roll and need some more ideas!
Image via La Grande Farmers Market/Flickr