Some of us are lucky enough to have a mister or misses eat-it-all, but most young kids aren’t keen on trying new stuff. Vegetables tend to be especially unpopular. That’s not your fault, it’s in their genes.
As cavemen we learned to fancy all the scarce ‘fat and sweet’ stuff, because we needed the energy and stored fat to survive days with less food available. A bitter taste often meant: poison. So kids naturally still act on that blueprinted behavior. Unfortunately sugar, fat and salt are everywhere so we overdose on it. Our bodies can’t handle that. That’s where the nurture part (read: you!) comes in.
Bring back the balance and keep serving a wide variety of vegetables to picky eaters. The most important thing you have to add is patience. Never forget: it takes 5 to 10 trials to get a new taste accepted. Sometimes even more. Just let children eat one sample of that ‘yucky’ thing, every time it’s on the menu. Keep On Serving Small Easy Samples. One day they’ll say ‘Maybe I like mushrooms now…’
Spicing up real food with fun and fantasy also works wonders for kids. A study showed that by simply renaming carrots into X-ray Vision Carrots, children ate twice as much of them. In another test, school children purchased almost 100% more extra veggies, simply because broccoli florets were renamed as Tiny Tasty Top Trees. And those ‘icky’ mushrooms also taste much better when they’re in a munchroom muffin:
makes 12 mini quiches
- 1 red onion
- 8oz brown or baby bella mushrooms
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 12 slices bread
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3oz grated Gruyere
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Finely chop the onion and chestnut mushrooms. Remove leaves from thyme sprigs, by running your fingers down the sprig from top to bottom.
Put a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. Stir in onion and sauté 8-10 minutes. Add chestnut mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add thyme leaves. Turn off the heat.
Trim 12 slices bread into circles, using a drinking glass. Spread some butter on each bread circle.
Place bread circles, with buttery side down, in 12 muffin cups. Create little ‘baskets’ as you gently press the bread. Spoon some baked onions and mushrooms into each cup. Top with the grated Gruyere.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from our Veggi Rider iPad app, which combines delicious, sustainable family meals with food education in a highly animated way.