For many parents, dinnertime is the most dreaded part of the day. There’s the mix of hungry children who are fussy about what they’ll eat, the rigours of our schedule not allowing us much time to cook and the relentless nature of life adding a level of fatigue that makes motivation for eating well hard to come by.
But I’m (Wendy from Vegie Smugglers!) here to motivate you to keep on trying. It’s not only important, but EASY to find meals that fit with your timetable. YOU CAN tackle fussing eating and find a joy in healthy food that will benefit your family for years to come.
Here’s why fussing eating is worth overcoming early in childhood…
• A third of grown men eat only one or NO serve of vegetables in a day. This could be your son, unless you fix things now!
• Obesity rates remain high, and overweight children have double the chance of becoming an overweight adult, which puts them at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and infertility.
ARRRGH! I hear you scream! But what can I do if my kids just WON’T eat healthy food?
Thankfully there are many things you can do to improve the eating habits of your kids….
1. Improve the culture of food in your family
Make sure mum and dad are eating vegies and setting a good example. If dad hates his vegies, tell him to shut up, man up and put the health of his family before his own childhood issues. Search out recipes that the whole family can enjoy together (I’ve got over 200 at my Vegie Smugglers blog).
2. Eat together
Eat the diet you want your kids to enjoy and eat it together. Mealtime is a great chance to communicate and connect.
Boring! I know! But planning your week’s worth of dinners is crucial to eating well. If the ingredients are there, ready to go, you’re much less likely to grab a takeaway.
On days you have time, cook a double batch of dinner and freeze half, ready for another night. Keep things in portions, ready to go – it’s quick and easy to deliver a healthy dinner, even on the most frantic of nights.
Food is fun. Flavour is awesome and exploring it all is a great adventure for a family to enjoy together. Keep a sense of humour and try to relax. While not every meal may be a resounding success, keep the long-term goals of a healthy lifestyle in mind. With persistence and perspective, you WILL WIN the fussy food battles in your household!
Vegie Smuggler’s Vegetable Slice
*Serves two adults and two children
Canola oil cooking spray
250g bacon, diced
1½ cups diced mushrooms
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 zucchini, chopped into chunks
1 carrot, peeled, chopped into chunks
½ cup deseeded, chopped red capsicum
Handful of green beans, sliced finely
½ cup self-raising flour
4 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup grated cheese
Salt & black pepper
Preheat oven to 180C. Spray a lamington tray with cooking spray and line with baking paper.
Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes until partly cooked. Add the spring onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Don’t overcook the bacon (it bakes later). Place mixture in a large mixing bowl.
Sift the flour over the top and mix through. Add the eggs and cheese and combine. Season. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until set and golden.
Cut into squares. This is delicious with salad and crusty bread.
For free Vegie Smugglers recipes and cookbooks, visit Vegie Smugglers online.