At least they’re from Canada! Can we call it local?
My good friend Janice told me the other day that she admires the way that my husband and I cook for our young son (thanks Janice!). We aim to make only one family meal per night. We continuously introduce him to a wide array of new, fresh and wholesome foods. And we take him out to great restaurants…as much as we can. As a result, we have raised a good eater…so far at least!
I think adults get dooped in the area of toddler food choices. Restaurant menus and tv advertisements make us think that kids need special foods that appeal to their young palates, and are only drawn to ones shaped like zoo animals or coated in sugar or flavoured to taste like ketchup! Not true. Kids love flavours…and weird ones too. My son is addicted to olives…and artichokes…and capers…and pickles. He loves fresh mangoes and ripe avocados and kiwis and sour cherries. For breakfast the other day he wanted toast and broccoli. I thought we were the only families experiencing this bliss, but in my research have found others. Others who have done the same thing that we have. Now this study hasn’t been scientifically approved or anything, but hopefully these tips will help you and your toddler enjoy some quality time together around the dinner table. And in case they don’t, there’s still a kick-ass recipe for rapini and chickpeas for you to enjoy!
Tips for rasing a gourmet baby:
always have your toddler eat what you are eating – no exceptions
offer LOTS of choices at meal time eg: sautéed green beans, sesame broccoli, baked salmon, oven fries, cucumber and feta salad
don’t ever force your child to eat or finish their plate
don’t offer alternatives
if your child eats NOTHING at dinner time, offer them a bowl of cereal or some fresh fruit just before bed (a few hours later preferably) with a glass of milk to avoid night wakings (NO ONE wants that!)
if they don’t want a certain food item, re-introduce it a few days later. And keep re-introducing it. Especially if it’s something as important as broccoli
don’t be afraid to season your food with fresh herbs and spices
try new foods and ethnic foods with your toddler (think dim sum, falafel, tzatziki, roti and Chana masala)
when eating out – order food from the adult menu and share with your toddler. Stay away from the kids menu…nothing but fat, salt and basically garbage on most.
don’t lose hope…even the fussiest of eaters can come around. Just be patient and stay strong!
Rapini with Miso Chickpeas
What you need
1 bunch fresh rapini, washed and chopped and lightly blanched (boil for 1-2 minutes)
2 tbsp light miso
1/2 cup hot water
2 tbsp tamari or Braggs
2 tbsp rice vinegar
pinch of red chilies to taste
How to make it
In a deep saute pan, heat oil and add garlic. When garlic becomes fragrant, add chickpeas and saute until golden, stirring regularly, approximately 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, dissolve miso in hot water and add to pan, along with tamari, vinegar and chilies, if desired. Mix thoroughly. Add blanched rapini and continue mixing until heated through or desired softness is achieved.
Serve on its own or mix with noodles for a tasty pasta!
Use in place of broccoli for a spin on your favourite recipes!