As adults, we try to do our best for our kids, especially when it comes to what they eat. After all, food is fuel, and good quality fuel is what we need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, kids don’t like anything unless it’s deep fried and smothered in chocolate!
There is a way however to smuggle some goodness in though!
I actually don’t have kids. But I do have 4 nieces, a nephew, a veggie sister in law (who does vegan every so often) and a cannibal for a partner. That’s a hell of a repertoire of culinary delights I’ve had to cater for!
But one thing I’ve learned, with a little bit of planning, and possibly a couple of extra pans, it’s pretty easy to appease everyone.
Firstly, plan your meals, and work out ways to slip in some extra nutrients. Use water that’s boiled vegetables in sauces. Add a couple of white root veggies, salt, black pepper and for extra indulgence, a teaspoon or 3 of English or Dijon Mustard and double cream to mashed potatoes. It’s perfect for all kinds of things, and is veggie.
You can also smuggle goodness into soups, stews, sauces and nearly anything you can think of as long as it’s sauce based by blitzing a load of veg together in the blender (I used to call my pasta ‘magic’ sauce because my niece couldn’t get her head around why it was multicoloured).
We then had a period of fussy eating when the younger ones were in there 4 – 8 years range. The problem with feeding 3 kids who all have different likes is you can easily end up with 3 different meals on the go. Usually unhealthy. However, if you can find one meal they all agree on, you can tweak it to balance everything out. This can involve anything you like, get creative, and remember, certain flavours mask others better than others.
It’s always a good idea to have plenty of stock in the pantry/cupboards. Baked Beans, Tinned Tomatoes, Herbs, Spices, Sauces (BBQ sauce cooks really well in the oven over Chicken!). These can all be used to neutralize flavours, thicken, loosen and intensify. Don’t be afraid to use stuff, as there normally is always something in there that can be used to counter something else.
There is a lot to be said for the humble tinned tomatoes, they can make flatbread pizza, or pita pizza, the basis of a chunky bolognaise, chilli con carne. All you have to do is disguise all the little added extras.
If you are ever in doubt about something, just look to the internet for inspiration, because we can guarantee that you are not alone in the fight of all things fried, stodgy and smothered in chocolate. Anyone for a Krispy Kreme?
Just an afterthought, pita breads are masters of disguise. Stuff them with all sorts as a sandwich and no one will ever now you’ve spiked them with additional goodness!