My kid devours vegetables. He just can’t wait to eat them first from his plate, especially the green ones. He just can’t get enough of the green ones. In fact, he likes them better than ice cream.” Said literally NO PARENT EVER.
Getting nutritious vegetables in little tummies is hard. Am I right? And honestly, who has the time and energy for ‘vegetable stress’ at every meal? Definitely not me. But before you give up and reach for the frozen pizza, hang in here with me!
Let me set your expectations. I am not about to reveal the magic solution parents around the world have been waiting for (I would be rich and famous if I had that). What I do have, however, are tips and tricks that will help your little people get at least some of the good stuff they need into their tummies while making sure you don’t lose your sanity along the way.
So how do I do it? How do I convince my 2-year old twins to eat vegetables? The answer is I don’t. I shamelessly con them into it.
I HIDE them. I put vegetables in pretty much everything. Cauliflower in smoothies? Yes please!
I SERVE them consistently. I put vegetables on their plates with almost every meal like it is no big deal. Sometimes they get eaten, sometimes they don’t. I simply hope by the time they leave home they will do the same thing for themselves out of sheer habit. A mom can dream right?
I make them FUN. I make vegetables an interactive part of food and feeding. Shell peas, mash avocado and make foods they can feed themselves.
I make them TASTY. Yes, yes, steam them, lock in their goodness and serve them plain. Or don’t, and instead lather them with garlic and herbs, roast them and mix them with cheese and make them something kids actually want to eat.
One of my favorite all time dishes that does all of this is the humble dip. Because dips are for snack time and snack time means fun time right? My twins are permanently lusting for snacks. So I take advantage of the opportunity by making snack time super healthy. The added bonus is that dips also are so simple to make. The hardest part is cleaning the food processor or blender afterwards. Which is a pain, I know.
The Hulk Power Dip is my go-to dip recipe that packs so much power for little people I almost want to jump around high-fiving them every time they take a bite. I don’t of course. I keep my cool so they keep eating.
What it’s good for:
Iron (the 1-year pediatrician check up dread anyone?)
Whole proteins for growth and development
Fiber for healthy tummies
So there it is. An easy and fun snack time that gets power packed vegetables into little tummies without fuss and with only a small time investment from you. This recipe can double as a luxury baby puree if you are in the process of weaning. It also goes pretty nicely with crackers and a large glass of red wine while relaxing on the couch after bedtime. Just sayin’!
The Hulk Power Dip
1 cup edamame
1 can chickpeas
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 clove of garlic
½ lemon juice
2 Tbsps olive oil
Herbs of choice – I added basil
1 cup cream cheese (I use full fat because I prefer it for the kids)
Add the spinach to the food processor first and pulse. Then add all other ingredients. Process until smooth. Add a little water if it is too thick and to be loosened to process. Add salt, pepper and more lemon to taste. That’s it! Spoon and serve with whatever dipping foods you have. I like to use peppers and whole wheat or seeded crackers. (This recipe is also really good with ½ avocado thrown in, but then it has to be eaten right away… shame.)
Written by: Rebecca Bernard