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The choo-choo veggie train

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How difficult is it to get your youngsters to eat their veggies? How often do they wolf down the lamb chops but leave the carrots and peas on their plate? Due to many children having the taste of sweet dominate their taste buds and palate from an early age, often the more subtle flavours of vegetables don’t get a look in.

You might be able to trick your toddler into eating things with the help of the good ole ‘here comes the choo-choo train’ routine, but sooner or later they are going to wise up and your locomotive sound effects are not going to be enough to get them to open up their mouths and eat that piece of steamed broccoli.

To help you outwit, outlast and outplay your little person (if they aren’t already a veggie eating angel) we’ve come up with a few fun ways to get them to eat their greens!

Homemade pasta sauce/minced meat – you can hide all sorts of yummy veggies when you make up a batch of pasta sauce or make your mince meat mix for tacos. Try adding any of the following: finely diced celery, capsicum, broccoli, grated carrot or zucchini. If you want to be super creative throw some mashed peas into the mix.

Healthy chips – baking veggies with a splash of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt makes them crispy and delish! Try kale, sweet potato, parsnip, carrots turnips or even zucchini (we have a recipe right here). Also try breaking off the leaves of brussel sprouts and baking them as if they were chips. Yum!

Blend it – there’s no better way to get your child to eat their greens than by breaking vegetables down so they are no longer recognisable. Whether you blend some frozen spinach into a smoothie or blend cooked broccoli to make a tasty soup. This is a great way to add goodness into their diet. Add half a banana into the green smoothie too and they wont taste the bitter notes.

Veggie cupcakes – disguise the veggies in cute little parcels by making egg and cheese cupcakes. All you need to do is grab a muffin tin, finely chop some broccoli and spinach, whisk up some eggs, add some cheese and then bake. Full recipe can be found here.

Turn up with turnips – rather than using potatoes to make patties for the kids, try using turnips. The kids will love their texture. Experiment with a mix of minced chicken, peas, corn and turnip.

Avo ice cream – what better way to trick your little ones into eating something good for them than to hide it in some homemade ice cream! Simply blend some banana and avocado, add a splash of coconut milk and some pomegranate seeds. Then place into ice block moulds and freeze. Check out our new e-book for the full recipe.

The veggie train – they may not buy daddy’s ‘choo-choo’ antics anymore, but why not create a colourful veggie train out of capsicums, cucumbers, radishes, carrots and celery sticks. Add some mashed avocado or hummus to one of the carriages so they can ‘dip sticks’ as they play with their food.

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Alternatively, enroll in NIDA ahead of childbirth to gain necessary qualifications as an award-winning actor/actress so that you are ready to put on an all-inspiring (and extremely convincing) show along the lines of “Vegetables are the coolest, yummiest, most-excellent things in the ENTIRE world!” This show will need to be performed, in character, on a daily basis while your child is young and impressionable. This may involve dressing up as a carrot and/or some interpretive dance. It will most certainly result in your child eating everything that’s put on their plate (and possibly an Oscar for your efforts).

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