Getting Kids Acquainted with Real Foods

A lot of parents have a hard time getting their kids to like ‘real food’.  Food marketed towards children is usually loaded with fat, salt and sugar and highly packaged in brightly coloured plastic that promises oodles of fun.  Products geared towards kids are getting more and more over the top all the time – just check out this video:

As if we needed ways to make processed wieners easier and ‘more fun to eat’!

Once a kid is hooked on this stuff, it can become more difficult to successfully introduce them to food in a more natural state.  Edie Shaw-Ewald writes about the challenges of raising kids to love real food in the Spring 2011 edition of ‘Our Children: Halifax’s Family Magazine’ and believes it’s important to re-connect kids to the idea that food comes from somewhere – whether it’s from a tree, the ground or a factory, which can help motivate them into making better food choices.  Kids also have a greater chance at building a good relationship to ‘real food’ if they are involved with its production somehow.  If you have a garden, have them help you out or give them a row of their own to take care of.  When you’re cooking, have them help you with the simple prep tasks.

All these ideas are great but it can still be hard to convince kids to eat certain veggies.  This weekend I was testing some spinach recipes for an upcoming demo at the Truro Farmers Market, and I found a few that just might make ‘eating your greens’ a little more palatable for kids.  Here are a few recipes to try out – let us know how your kids liked them!

Garlic Spinach Dip 

2 Tablespoons garlic (about 5 cloves)

8 cups fresh spinach (cooks down to about 1 cup)

8 ounces Foxhill Quark or light cream cheese

¼  cup milk

Dash of salt, dash of Tabasco

1. Sauté garlic in 1 tsp oil until soft.

2. Chop the spinach, then add to fry pan one handful at a time as it wilts, adding a little water as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Move the spinach to a blender, and add the remainder of ingredients.  Cover and blend until smooth.  (Alternately, place all ingredients in a small deep bowl, and mix with a stick blender).

Tastes great as is or heated through and served warm!  Garnish with chopped tomato or shredded Monterey Jack cheese.  Serve with tortilla chips, toasted pita wedges, or fresh veggies.

 Spinach ‘n Cheese squares

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour (use a combination of white and whole wheat flour)

1 tsp baking powder

2 ½ cups (1 lb) of cheese

½ pound (7 or 8 cups) chopped fresh spinach  (If you’re using cooked spinach, use about a cup and a half).

1.  Mix together the first four ingredients, and then add the spinach and cheese and mix well.

2.     Press into greased square baking pan.  Bake in preheated oven at 350F until knife comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

One thought on “Getting Kids Acquainted with Real Foods

  1. Pingback: Spring Greens at the Truro Farmers Market « Adventures in Local Food

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