Thursday, March 27, 2008

Whole foods and the yum factor

We eat for so many reasons beyond fueling our bodies. As a mom working towards good eating habits I try to remember that the social and emotional aspects of food are important and just as real as the practical considerations such as cost and nutrition. As I plan for the daycare I am trying to keep this in mind. So, I have started to rethink my stand on hiding foods... My own children I can cagoule, bribe and force if needed. Other peoples children in a large setting... No.

I have been observing in another daycare here in town and am seeing that kids just have their own minds about what they eat. And if they have never been exposed to whole foods how will I get them to eat it? Some things I know won't be a big deal, but other things will be a struggle I'm sure. So I am thinking about hiding veggies in the cooking for the daycare. Of course I would point this out to the parents, but I am thinking it might be a good way to have kids actually eat their veggies rather than just throwing them in the trash.

I have been experimenting with some different recipes and I think there are some with real potential. Even my picky DH liked them. I made a veggie soup with meatballs, blueberry bars with spinach, sweet potato pancakes, and will keep trying more options, insha'Allah. Hopefully I will have this down pat within a few months. Once I open the daycare I will be able to incorporate this idea... I will just have to figure out the transition to a larger scale.

***Somehow the draft of this post published... I just now got to editing it, sorry guys!***


Mona said...

You reminded me of Daddy Day care with Eddie Murphy dressed as a big broccoli, making veggies fun! I remember seeing on Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld's wife Jessica? I think it is...anyway she had a book about pureeing veggies and sneaking them into food, but also stressed eating real veggies,whole.

Us.. said...

Salam sister,

Alhamulillah all my children eat veggie. I'm not a veggie fan when I was small, but I can't live without veggie now. So do the children.

As for that I do introduce veggie as early as they start eating. I'm always try to make fun or joke in telling them carrot will make their eyes looking good and spinach will make them strong as popeye!

Sometimes some of them do give a no no face. That's when I said, just eat it! Alhamdulillah..they can have only veggie as their meal sometimes..!!

UmmLayla said...

Well Mona, hopefully this will save me from donning the veggie costume!LOL

I just keep thinking that whole wheat bread and veggie soup might be a hard sell for the chicken nugget and french fries kids I have been seeing at the day cares. Maybe I can give them something they know and something good for them at the same time;)

Anonymous said...

Gosh Stay positive!
If it is yummy they will eat it. Veggies can be dipped, even in hummus. Fruit can be dipped. Low sugar carrot cake can be made with extra nuts and pineapple, applesauce etc. Sweet potato oven fries. What a fun challenge!!!! I read in the paper several years ago, that a 3rd grade teacher wanted her kids to have omega-3s so she alternated sardines and beans in small amounts (dixie cup portions) and the kids actually started eating them and liking it. It improved the kids behavior and concentration. She did introduce the sardines as a dare.
What a great opportunity to help kids try stuff their parents might never introduce.
Aischa--on dad's computer
Can we brainstorm?

UmmBadier said...

might be a hard sell for the chicken nugget and french fries kids-yikes.
How about dippers? Like apples/pears in peanutbutter, yogurt, or tahnini dips? I'm sure you kid whip up some fabulous tofu cream dips too.
Also fritters-there are a multitude of ways you can shred veggies and make little "cakes" with them that you could then top with sourcream or let the kids dip.
Two other things to keep in mind-I read it could take as many as 10 introductions of a new food before a child will try it. And if they help prepare the food they will most likely want to eat their work, so maybe you can find away to incorporate their help into making the food-either rotating "kitchen helpers" or just part of the daily routine. We used to take Waldorf-style parent-child classes and the kids would roll out some dough everyday and they took great pride in their work.

Stranger in this Dunya said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

Masha'Allah, you have been trying some recipes from that book then?! I have to admit that the spinach chocolate cake my friend made was quite nice but with a 'cloying' texture.

Umm Badier's suggestion of dippers is a great idea. And what about mini kebabs? Skewer fruits onto cocktail sticks.

Umm Ibrahim

Aeryn said...

Salaams Sister,

will you be posting any of these recipes? my daughter is not picky, but anything to get more veg into her diet is a plus to me :-)


aischa said...

This is Aischa again. I clipped an article that had a photo of a really cool snack: It was a scoop of cottage cheese in a cone decorated with raisins and nuts, etc. It looked almost like a baskin robbins clown cone It could be a project or a fake "sundae".
I think getting the kids to help is a great idea, as mentioned before. Probably you could find help with the montessori (for use of tools and clean up strategies) and waldorf crowd.
I got my daughter and her friend to eats peas by being silly: we're Pokin' Peas!!! Yipee! and gave them toothpicks to poke the peas with--it made it interesting. Adding alphabet noodles got her to eat chicken and veggie soup. Fruit only or fruit with yogurt smoothies are good.
I am always surprised when kids eat well. My daughters preschool ate all the grapes that I sent for a class party and they fought over them! One ramadan I brought tons of sliced oranges, and they disappeared (of course you do get tired of meals of mostly starch and meat every iftar). However, at my old job (school librarian) I was shocked to see fresh fruit tossed in the trash-not saved but tossed. Was it because it was left whole???
Doesn't the Naked chef have a school lunch program?
well, must get to bed dreaming of food ideas...

Anonymous said...