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15/09/2011 / melgardener

Do you play hide the veggies? (and…no, that’s not a euphemism)

When I was growing up I remember always having vegetables served “on the side” of whatever meal we were having. Vegetables were an element on the plate, their purpose being to accompany the main part of the dish (which was usually meat). We mainly partook of the standard “meat and two/three veg” meals with occasional ventures into more adventurous territory and I remember my mum fondly for indulging her daughter’s dislike of cooked vegetables – the poor lady would make me a salad every night.

Fast forward to today and the meals I serve my children are radically different. If pushed, they will grudgingly eat cooked carrot or peas as a side to sausages or schnitzel but, more often than not, the vegetable portion of their dinner will be hidden within the main meal. I have refined my skills and I can now hide veggies in almost every dish I produce – whether it be meatballs, butter chicken, tacos or risotto.

All this...

Tonight I am cooking meatballs and there are six different vegetables nestled safely within each round of mince – carrot, onion, capsicum (red and yellow), zucchini and mushrooms. My children will hoover them down and rowdily demand more. This is a meal that is on high rotation in our house – the children request it regularly.

...in here

However, had I dared to serve up these vegetables as ‘sides’ to any other meal they would be rejected outright. Hiding the veggies is my way of ensuring adequate vegetable intake without the arguments.

But I’m starting to wonder if I’m maybe doing my children an injustice. After all, how are they supposed to learn about what different vegetables look and taste like if I’m forever chopping them into miniscule pieces and hiding them in their meals?
I’ve been a follower of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution programmes in various countries and I very much agree with his message: “Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of,” he says on his website.

So by hiding the veggies – in order to avoid the argument over eating them – am I making food the enemy?

Do your kids eat veggies? How do you deal with vegetables in your house? Do you have any tips to share on how to get kids to eat veggies?

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2 Comments

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  1. Mum / Sep 23 2011 7:51 pm

    No, I don’t think you’re making food “the enemy”. The plus for you is that you are providing nutritious meals for your kids. As for their tastes in later life, you’ll just have to wait and see. You (and your brother) were brought up on salad vegetables (and pretty unadventurous salad vegetables at that!) yet you’ve both grown up to be really adventurous eaters and cooks. You’ll probably be amazed at what your girls eat when they’re grown up. Actually I’m amazed at what they eat now! Keep doing what you’re doing, say I! (see your later Blog “Three little words” for proof of your good “Mumship”).
    Your Mumxxxxx

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