Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why Didn't I Think of This?

One of my favorite books on food is Nina Planck's Real Food: What to Eat and Why. Nina was raised by a mother who had studied and taken to heart the work of Adelle Davis. Adelle Davis showed that if you provide children healthy options and let them eat as much or as little as they want, they will be properly nourished. The key there is healthy options - she wasn't providing any refined grains or sugars, just real, whole, unprocessed foods.

One of the best things I learned from the book is that Nina often eats multiple vegetable sides at a meal. Why this was a revelation for me, I don't know, but it was. I love vegetables yet I had never considered making more than one at a meal. Having two different vegetables makes it really easy to fill 3/4 of your plate with veggies. Add a small pile of peas to a pile of broccoli and you're there.

This also relates back to getting your children, or reluctant spouses, to eat their vegetables. Aaron has a lot of favorites, and since I want him to get enough vegetables every night, it would be tempting to only make those. But if I make a new vegetable (or a new method of preparation) along with a favorite, he is sure to get enough veggies even if he only takes a little bit of the "weird" one. Plus, his exposure to the new vegetable or dish will make it less "new" over time. It can take 8 times of serving something before your family accepts it enough to objectively evaluate it. Having an alternative gives you the freedom to keep introducing things without making a whole dinner your kids or partner won't eat.

So put the Brussels sprouts puree on the table, and let your kids decide if they want to try it without any word of encouragement or discouragement from you, and you may be surprised at how many vegetables your kids really like.

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