Kids are visual creatures. When it comes to food, if they don't like the look of something, they won't even try it. In order to to get your kids to eat their vegetables and get the nutrition they need, you have to think like a kid. Fortunately for me, that's not too far of a stretch. Realizing that kids eat with their eyes first, parents can disarm their child's food antagonism by hiding or transforming food into visually approachable forms.
Three techniques that I repeatedly use with success to improve the nutrition of my kids include:
- Pureeing vegetables
- Encouraging hands
- Encouraging dipping
I demonstrate the use of these techniques in the following clip on making eggplant chips and dip. In this clip, I show you how easy it is to make your own eggplant chips and discuss why eggplant chips are a much healthier alternative to the traditional potato chip.
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The eggplant dip featured in this video is a traditional Bulgarian dish called kiopoolu. I adapted the recipe by blending all the ingredients together to also hide the tomatoes, which my son would typically pick out and reject. You can warm up the color of the dip by using red bell pepper. This simple recipe can be found at the following link:
Here's an easy recipe for making eggplant chips:
Eggplant Chips Recipe
- 1 eggplant
- canola oil spray
- garlic salt
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Wash and peel eggplant.
- Cut eggplant horizontally into thin slices (the thinner, the crispier the chip).
- Spray both sides of chips with canola oil, then sprinkle both sides with garlic salt and cheese.
- Bake in oven for 40 minutes until browned and crisp, flipping every so often.
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Nestle M. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
Mozaffarian D et al. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and LongTerm Weight Gain in Women and Men. N Engl J Med 2011;364:2392-404.