healthy eating, on the sly

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We are wrapping up a long stretch of veggie refusal by our little one, so I thought I’d share a couple of things that have worked for us recently. Beans is a tank, and eats pretty much anything put in front of her, but Swee has always been a different story. She’s always been a wee one, and around 18 months old, began to refuse certain foods. For a while, we just rolled with it. We’d offer lots of different things but she got so stubborn and we were wasting so much food, that for a while I resigned myself to cooking things she would eat with the knowledge that she would leave the veggies and protein on her plate. Thankfully, we seem to be turning a corner.


Last night we had burgers on the grill with beef instead of turkey, which we don’t do very often. It was my aunt’s suggestion to mix veggies into the hamburger meat. I chopped up some zucchini and some kale from the garden and cooked them in olive oil the night before, and then mixed it into the ground beef with some diced red onion, an egg and a splash of Worcestershire. We were in the mood for cheese so they got topped with some Cooper Sharp, but none of us really care for buns so we did without. Beansie and Swee housed theirs, and J asked if we could have them this way again, so I’m calling it a win.


Since our family has been back under one roof, I’ve been preparing a fruit and veggie plate to set on the table within her reach. She knows that she can help herself to anything on that plate, and as much of it as she wants as long as she eats the majority of her main course. And it’s working! She seems genuinely excited to see the plate arrive on the table and I see her pudgy little hand reach out more often than not. I generally include whatever I have in the fridge. Last night was baby carrots, sliced cucumbers and strawberries with a little bowl of homemade dippy – just sour cream with garlic powder and dill weed. I’ll often cut up red or orange bell peppers, and sometimes there are other fruits. When we had all those black raspberries, they made an appearance just about every night. The plate is almost always empty at the end of the meal.


Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this tactic, but we have employed a bit of bribery to get Swee to eat her dinner. We will sometimes have a treat on hand to offer if the going is particularly rough. There was no need to bribe her last night, but we enjoyed popsicles just the same. These molds are as old as I am, almost. I remember my mom using them when my brothers and I were little, and my girls love them now. I use my stick blender to puree some fruit, fresh or frozen, and add a splash of juice to help it freeze smoothly. I’ve found that freezing straight fruit puree results in mealy popsicles, but the addition of some liquid smooths it out while taking the tart edge off. This time I used watermelon and frozen cherries, with a little Juicey Juice. They stain like crazy, so it has to be warm enough for naked babies to enjoy them, and then rinse off in the pool or bathtub.

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