Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CSA and Kids

A question I often get is…”Do your kids eat all that stuff you put on your blog?”

NO WAY!!!! But I do have a few suggestions for things I try with my kids so they will enjoy our CSA too!

So, no my kids do not eat all those recipes I put on the blog. I can’t even get them to eat simple casseroles like baked ziti – too much mixed up Mom! I tend to give them our meal in pieces. The best example of this from the blog is the Napoleons . I gave them pieces of chicken, a piece of puff pastry, a raw leaf of spinach (see below), and a favorite vegetable side dish.

I saw this idea in Family Fun ( ). We have a chart we use to guess how we will feel about a new food. Before we eat the new food we talk about it…what is it, why it’s good for you, which ingredients were used, how it might feel in your mouth, etc. So on the chart, each child has a column. Each child must answer three rows of questions. Row #1…guess if you will like the new food (my little one draws a happy or sad face). Row #2…describe the food after eating a few bites, taste, texture, etc. Row #3…rate the food on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 being you love this new food!

It got this idea from Melissa d’Arabian when she was competing on The Next Food Network Star. She said when she is trying a new dish with vegetables or introducing a new vegetable she gives her children some of the vegetable raw. Kids seem to respond to this. Mine like it because they see what the vegetable looks like, they can touch it, see what color it is and so on. They just have to try it. If they like it raw and know what it is, they are more receptive to trying it cooked or mixed with other ingredients.

I made this up when I saw Jamie Oliver in a classroom asking kids to identify vegetables, eggplant, sweet potatoes, radishes, and so on. At first they didn’t know get too many right, but there teacher did a quick unit with them and they learned to identify their veggies. I wanted my kids to be familiar with all the vegetables that come into the house. I also found this helpful when I couldn’t convince them that sweet potato fries would be good too! So anyway, I find out what vitamins and minerals are in the vegetable and make sure the kids know how they help their body, like Vitamin C helps you fight off germs. If I’m really lucky I find some COOL fact – like sweet potatoes have been consumed since prehistoric times ( ). The best was getting my oldest to gobble up asparagus because it would make his pee smell like flowers ( )!

Finally, nothing works better getting kids to eat vegetables than having them grow the veggies themselves. We don’t have a big yard, and certainly not enough sun to grow vegetables, but every year we have tomatoes in pots. The tomatoes get eaten as soon as anything ripe is spotted. Maybe 10 cherry tomatoes make it onto our dinner table a year, most are just eaten as the children stand by the plants. For me, this is just another reason why our CSA is so important. We get locally grown vegetables with lots of dirt left on them and we can talk about our farm and how things are grown whenever we go pick up our veggies.

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