Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vegetables in tiny tummies and peace at the dinner table.

I have come to realise that I don't hold a similar view as most parents with regards to how to handle children and the dinner routine. I know this by witnessing multiple other friends and the way they handle the situation and also after many debates within my own family and their views on the matter. I don't in anyway judge the way other people negotiate tea time habits but I sometimes feel that others may silently question my lenience. My children don't have to eat all their tea before they are excused nor do they have to eat their vegetables.

This is something I have struggled with throughout Hannah's entire food eating journey. She has always been a light eater and a very fussy one at that. I have always been satisfied that she has eaten what she has because at least it is something in her tummy. I suppose I don't do myself any favors with regards to how other people may judge how I allow her to eat so little because I would rather serve up too much than not enough which makes it seem even more drastic then it really is. I often over estimate how much she will eat.

Many years ago I came across a book called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and I have been wanting it forever. Finally a few weeks ago I acquired it. As I was reading I found myself almost constantly nodding, this is exactly the way I have been thinking but have been unable to find the words! I just couldn't agree more with everything she was saying and it defended me and my point of view PERFECTLY!

As Jessica puts it so well I would like to make a few quotes from the pages:

"Forcing your kids to eat foods they hate only reinforces their distaste."

"Deceptively delicious" (or the concept of) "enables parents to give kids what they want and what they need at the same time. It acknowledges your kids' genuine dislikes without being confined by them. It empowers you to exert some legitimate control over what your children eat , without inviting the usual fights."

She then continues...

"Just as the most powerful lessons are the ones that aren't taught, the best parenting solutions are the ones that build good habits- invisibly."

The most important quote that rings so so true to me is:

"I want my kids to associate food and mealtimes with happiness and conversation, not power struggles and strife. With a little sleight of hand, you can make the issues of what your children will and will not eat disappear from the table."

Jessica Seinfeld, you are a genius! The book provides many tried and tested recipes; which even though I am a stickler for a good recipe to follow. This book cleared my foggy head space and my intentions from the beginning so I can purposely implement this strategy throughout all of my cooking and enhance my existing recipes.

The book advocates preparing and freezing a variety and small quantities of fruit and vegetable purees to add to your cooking wherever it might be disguised in colour and flavour, so your children can keep eating the food they love as well as obtain the vitamins and minerals their growing bodies need. Through out all of this still maintaining visible vegetables on the dinner plate but if they don't eat it... well it is not as big of a deal.

I have always sneaked in some grated carrot and or zucchini into my cooking but last night was the first time I tried out the purees. I added cauliflower puree into our mashed potato and butternut squash puree to our gravy and it worked! Hannah ate it all none the wiser. 

Here's to many more happier, healthier, peaceful dinner times in our home!

*I know this theory and post may be a little controversial and I know there are a lot of people out there who may have strong opinions about children eating their vegetables. I invite you to comment your point of view, but please be open minded and keep comments constructive and encouraging. -Teagan


  1. I've struggled with not making dinnertime a power struggle too, and have had to just let go a lot of the anxiety about my boy not eating well. I do hide veggies (grated, chopped finely and occasionally pureed) where I can and I like that Seinfeld offers veggies on the plate as well... my issue's with finding enough things he loves to eat that I'm happy for him to eat. Of course he'd eat cake or brownies laced with zucchini or beetroot, but I'm not going to feed him cake every night. How do I hide veggies in plain pasta when he refuses 'sauce' of any kind?

    1. Hi Lilybett, thank you for taking the time to comment! Wow, I thought I had it hard but Hannah will at the very least have tomato sauce and is usually happy to have a honey mustard sauce or something of the likes. I was wondering if your son would try Ravioli or Tortellini or any other types of pasta that can be filled? You could start with just ham and cheese filling and when he gets more comfortable try one that contains vegetables. Or have you tried making your own pasta? I have done it once before and although it is time consuming, it is AMAZING! So much more delicious than the dried, store bought stuff! I am just wondering if you could include a white or yellow puree in homemade pasta? Let me know if that is something you might be interested in. I have a friend who is an excellent chef and I can ask her if the pasta recipe can be altered to include a puree, like maybe reduce the amount of water to compensate for a puree.