By Kim Beavers
Food is joyful! But dinner time struggles can be— well, not so joyful. Dinner time is not where we want a lot of drama, especially around food. So, how do you get your children (toddlers to teens) to try new foods? The most enjoyable way I have ever explored new foods with my family has been by presenting a tasting (formal or informal). What is a tasting? It is simply a safe zone where everyone gets to try new foods or not-so-new foods presented in new ways. Tastings can be several of one food, such as three different yogurts, or like broccoli that is cooked in different ways or served with different sauces. A tasting also offers some evaluation at the end: Do you like this food? Do you like it prepared this way? Is it appealing? Is it crunchy, soft or too dry? A tasting is nothing more than presenting food in a fun and explorative atmosphere.
We recently had an impromptu tasting at our house. I bought multicolored baby carrots at the store. My teenagers thought it was funny to take turns closing their eyes, feeding each other a carrot and trying to figure out the color based on the flavor. We were all similarly bad at guessing the color and determined we like the typical orange carrot the best. That is how I want food experiences to be for my children, an adventure, not stressful or pressured. It is important to introduce new foods with a side of fun and respect.
With that said, one effective rule is to instill the “polite bite”. A polite bite is trying one bite of a food, and if not liked, the person politely says “no thank you” if more is offered. This rule ensures that the person presenting the food does not feel bad, and good manners have been practiced to signal that no more of that food is desired. The polite bite is also helpful for children, as they are reassured they do not have to eat more of something they do not like so their individual preferences are respected. Keep in mind, some children find a polite bite too challenging— in that case, it may be best to have them describe the food, smell it or touch it as part of a safer exploration. Jill Castle RDN has some great articles on more extreme food behaviors, and I invite you to check those out if needed at: www.jillcastle.com.
In the meantime, this is a delicious way to eat zucchini, enjoy!
~ Eat well, live well ~ Kim
Lime Zucchini Muffins
Here is a refreshing version of zucchini bread. If you don’t have a lime, use a lemon.
2 ½ cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
½ cup sugar + 2 coarse sugar teaspoons— to use for topping
¾ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Juice of 2 limes (remember to zest before you juice) (~ 3-4 tablespoons lime juice)
Zest of 2 limes
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour* (or whole white wheat)
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350º. Spray 24 muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.
In a bowl, mix the zucchini, sugars (except for the two reserved teaspoons), eggs, yogurt, oil, vanilla extract, lime juice and zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, pour the liquid ingredients into the well and stir to combine (do not over mix). Portion ¼ cup of batter into the prepared muffin tins and evenly distribute the two teaspoons of coarse sugar over each muffin and bake at 350º for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
This recipe is a double portion by design, where all the ingredients are out it is just as easy to make double and freeze half. Quick breads or muffins, such as these, freeze exceptionally well. To freeze, wrap the muffins individually in plastic and place them in a plastic freezer bag.
Yield: 24 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)
Nutrition Breakdown: Calories 130, Fat 3g (0g saturated fat, 1.5g monounsaturated fat), Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 140mg, Carbohydrate 23g, Fiber 2g, Protein 3g
Diabetes Exchange Values: 1 ½ Starches ½ fat
Kim’s Note: Whole wheat pastry flour is a lower protein flour that produces nice tender baked goods. This is my go-to flour for whole-grain baking. I have found it at Kroger, Publix and New Life Natural Food Store on Washington road. Or on-line at www.bobsredmill.com
Photo by Agustin Ljosmyndun on Pexels