Monday, February 26, 2007

Feeding children who don't eat vegetables

I don't have children and I don't have to deal with this kind of thing very often but, my 12 year old niece, C, is coming to visit this weekend for a long weekend. We are taking her to Maine to learn to ski. Mike emailed her to find out what kinds of foods she won't eat and she replied that she eats pretty much anything but vegetables. Well, um, this is definitely going to be a problem. Furthermore, her mother emailed and let us know that she is not a big eater and that she likes to eat pasta. This honestly just made me sad. To go on a bit of a holier-than-thou-I-don't-know-anything-about-kids kind of tangent...

I tend to think that kids/adults who tell me that they don't like vegetables haven't been exposed to any "real" vegetables. Let me explain the "real" part of that sentence. I grew up in the south where vegetables are an accessory to the meat on the plate and they are generally waaayyyy overcooked. The kind of vegetables I was exposed to as a kid (and was pretty standard fare for this part of the country) included canned peas, canned corn, corn on the cob, tomatoes, fried okra, overcooked green beans, really overcooked broccoli (I'm taking at least 20 mintues here), over cooked asparagus, carrots (candied of course), and mashed potatoes. Oh, and the overcooked broccoli usually came with some melted velveeta. I can see why I thought I didn't like vegetables.

Back to the subject at hand. What the heck am I going to feed my neice? I pulled out my Vegan Lunch Box cookbook to see how I could get her to eat some veggies. I decided that one night we would have "Sneaky Momma's Tomato Sauce" with spaghetti, roasted vegetables (butternut squash perhaps), and, optionally for C, some lentil rice balls. For the other night I am making Chili with lots of beans and veggies and TVP. I am going to make the Chili and Spaghetti Sauce ahead of time to hide any ingredients that she might find scary or unfamiliar (like TVP).

I haven't made the Chili yet, but I did make the sauce this weekend and freeze it. Here are some pics of all the veggies that went into the sauce (with the exception of a couple of big cans of tomatoes). The big green piles are Kale and Basil.

Sneaky Momma's Tomato Sauce Prep

And a close up of the other pile, which has shredded carrots, parsley, and red bell peppers:

Sneaky Momma's Tomato Sauce Prep

And here is the finished product (and it tastes really good too):

Sneaky Momma's Tomato Sauce
No veggies in sight!

Hopefully this devious veggie hiding plan will work. Now I just have to figure out how to entertain a 12 year old!


  1. Just make some of those cupcakes, and she'll eat anything in order to have some dessert. :) Good luck!!

  2. Ha ha. I thought about that, but we are going straight up to the ski slope to stay in a condo that won't be so well stocked. She'll have to make do with Newman-Os.