I have heard this phrase too many times. It’s like there’s a grand conference of all children around the world where they decide “If you see vegetables in your food, boycott!!”.
If your toddler sees vegetables and eats them, you should pat yourself on the back. You’re among the chosen few. There are lots of articles online about how to make your child eat vegetables but here’s my version.
I know I shouldn’t try to be sneaky and hide foods and that I need to enforce the ‘eat all your veggies’ rules because I’m the mother and she’s the child blah blah, but hey, I’m also a working mum. These days, I’m like a single mum because my husband and I happen to be working on different things in different countries. I really don’t have the time nor the energy. I’m not going to have a meaningful conversation with a 3 year old on the benefits of vegetables and why they should eat them. I’m just going to sneak it in her food and move on with my life. No shame here.
For some children, it’s not just veggies, meat is a problem. One of my daughter’s friends will pick bit and pieces of minced meat from her food. Minced meat!
Let’s talk about meat first. I like using meat that can blend easily with the food because the problem is not that they don’t want it, it is just that it looks different from the rest of their meal. My favorite meats for cooking are minced beef, cassava fish, red fish, tuna flakes, tilapia, nile perch (this fish is in Uganda) and chicken.
Minced beef mixes with stews quite easily. Just fry it and break it into small pieces with your wooden spoon as it fries. Always make sure your minced beef is from a trusted source and you know that it is real ground beef.
Fish in itself is soft and can be mixed well into food. Tuna flakes are the bomb because they have already been made into flakes. Your child will not know the difference between the fish and the okra stew or jollof. If you’re not into canned fish, you can use any type of fish, remove the bones and blend or mash with a fork.
Chicken is the problem. I haven’t found minced chicken anywhere so here’s what I do. After steaming the chicken, I remove the meat from the bones and blend it into a puree or little flakes. Then I just add it to whatever sauce I’m making after the sauce is cooked.
When I’m making soups and sauces, I put some aside for her and add fish flakes, minced beef or the chicken puree.
I’m sure you know where i’m going with this by now. Puree puree puree! My daughter’s groundnut soup will usually look very plain but will be filled with carrots and chicken. (Sometimes even beans).
Tomato stews will usually look plain red but will have minced beef or tuna flakes, carrots, green pepper and green beans. All blended in.
I do same for okra stews and soups. I also blend kontomire into my agushie or garden egg stew.
How do you handle your veggie situation?