"My Kid Will Only Eat White Food!"
Welcome to Dishing it Out, ParentDish's weekly food column. Katie Workman lives in New York City with her husband and two boys, Jack and Charlie. By day she is the Editor-in Chief of the recipe website Cookstr.com. You can read all of the Dishing it Out posts here.
The white food black hole. I feel your pain. This usually translates into "my kid will only eat starch and carbs: pasta (maybe with butter, but no sauce), rice, french fries, some Kraft mac and cheese, and assorted and sundry chips and snack-y items. And the occasional bite of pizza and a chicken nugget."
Dear readers, I may ruin our blossoming relationship here. I know well the dinnertime struggles ("One more bite of broccoli! Two more bites of chicken!") but I have to say to you -- to all of us -- suck it up, and serve real food. Here's the thing: Fritos and fried chicken taste great. They taste great to kids, and they taste great to us. But if we wean our children on a diet of starch and fried things, we don't really have much right to expect them to suddenly discover asparagus on their own.
"Well, good for you, Ms. Healthy Food Blogger from New York. You come stand over my kid and force him to shove down a brussel sprout." No, you're right; easy to say, not so easy to do. I'd love to hear your best tips for kid-pleasing healthy meals. Here are some eclectic tips from my arsenal.
Let them help. My son Charlie created a recipe for Olive Percenter (a combo of scrambled eggs with sliced olives, topped by a cooling layer of cucumber ... don't knock it til you try it.); it's called Olive Percenter "because it's 100% good," says the young chef.
Hearts of palm. Canned or jarred, these slightly sweet, slightly salty vegetables (yes, yes! the insides of palm trees, how cool is that!) totally appeal to kids and can be sliced into salads and many other dishes, or eaten out of hand like a carrot.
Edamame. Available frozen in many supermarkets and Asian markets, these need only a 5 minute boil and a sprinkle of coarse salt; kids love popping them out of their shells and into their mouths.
Shop with them. It may not happen the first time, or every time, but if you let them wander through the produce section, and pick out few things, then you have a lot more reason to think they will want to try them.
Stop serving only white food. Sorry, this is the one that hurts. If you make macaroni every night, your kids will eat macaroni every night.
Tell me what you do to introduce your kids to new foods!
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.