As Little Sis so eloquently pointed out in “It’s Not You, It’s Them”, just because it’s in the grocery store, doesn’t make it safe to eat. The safest foods in the grocery store are the whole, unprocessed foods: fruits and vegetables! And of course it is an age old battle to get children to eat more vegetables. Our culture’s diet is not based on fruits and vegetables, it’s based on bread and meat and potatoes and meat and lots and lots of sugar.
Although the popular notion that children have different taste buds or stronger taste buds than adults is difficult to tease out scientifically, due to many other factors affecting perceptions of taste, children do seem to have a higher density of ‘sweet’ taste receptors which is offset when puberty increases the ability to differentiate between tastes and the preference for sweet declines.
There’s no denying most children love sweet and most seem to like bland. Maybe that’s because they can’t differentiate and so complex flavors seem strong. But let’s get back to the basic problem. How to get more vegetables into your children, and into you and your adults as well?! We adults also exist in this culture and have also been inundated with bread, sugar, meat, sugar, potatoes, sugar, meat, and sugar as well! I am not looking to engage people in a discussion about the relative merits of meat here, but it’s simple math. If your plate is full of bread and meat – where are the vegetables? Vegetables are key to good health!
We have lots of vegetable based recipes on board here, but I wanted to share a vegetable-increasing-money-saving-technique especially for the vegetable impaired. Continue reading
Most people don’t consider me very sneaky, but when it comes to getting vegetables into my kid… I’ll do just about anything. I have found that the good ol’ American grilled cheese sandwich is rife with opportunity for treachery (mwoo hoo hahaha)! Read on, if you dare….
One can spread a layer of a number of both pureed or simply sauteed vegetables into a grilled cheese sandwich. My first foray into the covert vegetable operation was to spread a layer of pureed broccoli on the bread before placing the layer of cheese. I began pureeing broccoli (along with lots of other things) to make baby food.
1) Puree in the blender or VitaMix with enough water to let the blades turn
2) Scoop out and place in ice cube trays
3) Cover trays with wax paper to aid stacking and avoid frost
4) Pop out and store in container in freezer when solid
Then you can defrost as much as you need per the size of your bread and the breadth of your child’s tolerance or gullibility. So broccoli, cauliflower or spinach seemed to work best in our house for the kids. As my now 11 year old aged and realized that it was indeed possible to have a grilled cheese sandwich WITHOUT anything green in it, we had to negotiate a bit…. “Do you want your broccoli in the sandwich or on the side?” worked very well for a while. And of course my husband and I ate and enjoyed the broccoli/cheese sandwiches as well.
However, there is something better than broccoli for the grown-ups and thus the lovely picture above… mustard greens sauteed in a little oil and garlic make a stupendous extra layer in a grilled cheese sandwich. Stir some up for dinner and make a little extra. Doesn’t take long – just a clove of garlic and a little olive oil in a pan, tear the leaves smaller and cook until they are quite wilted. Stick the leftovers in the frig. You don’t have to heat the greens up – they’ll heat as the cheese melts around and into the nooks and crannies. Delicious! You can also use swiss chard or collards or kale. And of course, for the grown-ups you can vary the cheese as well.
You do get some funny looks when your child asks their friend who is staying for lunch, “Do you want your grilled cheese with or without broccoli?” but no funny look equals the pleasure of sneaking vegetables onto the plate and into the mouth!
In this case the words are ‘sandwiched’ between the greens. Yuk yuk yuk…. just what a lot of kids say when it comes to vegetables.