Preparing Vegetables; Simple ways to Turn Around the Pickiest Eaters

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vegetables - collage, photo of child It’s an issue of mass proportion! Kids are turning up their noses at dinner tables across the US. One thing is certain, if vegetables don’t excite you, more than likely, they won’t excite your kids either. Investing in a diet rich in fresh vegetables is scientifically proven to improve overall health, ensure the proper growth and development of children, and improve the body’s ability to heal and repair damaged cells. A nutritional diet is critical to brain function and development. Not only this, a consistent diet that includes fresh vegetables does not have to cost more, and can be more flavorful and satisfying than one that does not.

Vegetables at the grocery store typically don’t come with instructions, although they should. Many common vegetables can be prepared in certain simple ways that make them easy to digest and enjoy.

BROCCOLI 

Why its repulsive to kids> Easily dismissed, due to the thick, tough stalks, you may be inclined to throw away. Additionally, some claim consuming broccoli causes gas.

Notably, the cruciferous tops are highly digestible. Though the best part is often overlooked.

Quick Fix:

  • 1. Slice off the tops, and cut them into bite size portions. What you will have left is the true essence, the best part. The key to the stalk lies within.
  • 2. Trimming broccoli Stalks:  Slice a strip the length of the stalk, about an eighth inch from the surface. Continue this on 4 sides of each stalk. The tough layer of the broccoli is only about 1/8 inch on the surface.  Cutting that part away reveals the interior of the stalk which is tender. From there you can cut the remaining stalk into slices or chips.

  BEST USE OF BROCCOLI IN A DISH:  vegetables

If you are roasting a whole chicken, or poultry, place one sliced red onion, and approximately 2 lb. of trimmed broccoli crowns and stalks under, and around the poultry in the roasting pan. Roast about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until chicken is golden. The juices from the chicken will thoroughly season these two already flavorful vegetables, and appeal to the most skeptical of vegetable non-eaters.

CABBAGE

Why its repulsive to kids and adults> The sight of a whole head of cabbage is easily intimidating if you don’t know how to approach it. Also associated with flatulence. 

  Quick Fix:

Key to cabbage is cutting it into bite-size portions:

1. Cut cabbage in half, then quarter, then cut into smaller wedges.

  BEST USE OF CABBAGE IN A DISH:

Stir fry cabbage with russet potato wedges, and chicken breast strips. Use a light, poly unsaturated oil such as olive, sunflower, or coconut oil.

LEEK

 Notably:  Excellent member of the onion family. Flavorful, and delicious. Trim the root, and slice the entire length of the leek.

  BEST USE OF LEEK IN DISH:

Excellent for stir fried dishes, combined with sweet potato wedges, or strips, zucchini, and russet potato.

 ZUCHINI

 Why its repulsive: Bitter flavor

Quick Fix:

To bring out the underlying flavors of zucchini, and neutralize the bitter flavor, add to sweet potato, or russet potato. Also excellent grilled.

BEST USE OF ZUCHINI IN DISH:

To cut zucchini into strips:  1. Slice one zucchini lengthwise in half. Then cut the length of each half. Slice again until you have strips. Then you can cut those mid-way, or leave them uncut like spaghetti. Add to other vegetables in roasting pan. Drizzle 3 tbsp. olive oil, ½ cup halved pecans. Roast until golden, about 30 minutes.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

If you desire a slightly more crisp texture, leave pan partially uncovered when stir-frying vegetables.

Medium heat cooking oils recommended for use: Olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, or a combination of these. Recommended due to the fact that they optimally retain vegetable’s nutrients, and generally won’t fry vegetables to a crisp. They are poly unsaturated, (healthy fats), with anti-inflammatory properties.

Image credits: Sophia, Samantha. “Photo of Child”.[https://pixabay.com]. [11/15/2017].