Dr. Mary Anne’s Advice:
Is Spaghetti Squash a Vegetable?? To bad Spaghetti is not a vegetable. Vegetables contain a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Fruits have plenty of vitamins, but vegetables have more minerals. When children have sufficient minerals, toxic metals are less likely to attach. In this age of environmental toxins, this is an important defense.
So, how do you get your child to love vegetables?
Serve vegetables often! I suggest that vegetables be offered several times a day for extra insurance. Otherwise, it is hard to get the minimum (5) fruits and vegetables daily. Raw vegetables make great appetizers for children to munch on while you are preparing dinner. Kids love frozen peas as a refreshing snack on hot days. Did you know the calcium in broccoli is easier for the body to absorb than in milk?
Make the presentation fun! We love making celery cars with children using toothpick axles and carrot or Persian cucumber wheels at play groups or parties (for children who are old enough to handle them). Add nut butter or cream cheese and add raisins or cherry tomatoes to add “people.” For a fun project at a birthday party or play day, find a safe knife with a wide rounded blade and let children help prepare vegetables. Help children to cut vegetables into fun shapes. Mix a variety of colors. Peppers and carrots come in array of colors. And eat vegetables with your children. It’s important that they see you enjoying healthy food (dad too).
Or, you can hide the vegetables! Kale is one of the most nutritious greens. Kale contains calcium, magnesium, and vitamins that lower susceptibility to illnesses; including asthma and cancer. Kale keeps bones strong and boosts immune function. Kale can be shredded into meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, and stir-fry’s. Give children “safe” spices to add to these prepared dishes, like parsley, minced onion, and a little Celtic or sea salt. Safe spices are spices that children can use to help season without overwhelming the flavor if they overdo it!
Include children in meal planning and preparation! Kids love to help chop vegetables for soup. Where vitamins and enzymes can suffer from overcooking, heat won’t damage minerals. Soup broths have been used for healing for many years. In restaurants, ask for a plate of steamed vegetables to be brought to the table before the entrée. Bring children to local farmer’s markets. There the produce doesn’t have to compete with cleverly packaged junk food. Make sure your children know how food grows. Plant peas this spring or a whole garden if you have room.
Most of all have fun and enjoy good health. Dr. Mary Anne