Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food
In Western cultures, vegetables are rarely served for breakfast. This is unfortunate.
Breakfast is a great time to serve your child vegetables. Here are some reasons why:
Breakfast Provides Another Opportunity for Vegetables
In order to teach your child to love vegetables (the food group with the longest learning curve), you'll want to give them to him at least 3 times a day. If you serve vegetables for breakfast, that only leaves two more servings to think about.
Breakfast Foods Are Learned For Life
People tend to be conservative about their breakfast choices. A person who happily eats a wide variety of dishes for lunch or dinner may eat the same bagel, cream cheese, and coffee every day. If you get your child accustomed to a vegetable for breakfast in his early formative years, he may continue this habit for the rest of his life.
Vegetables for Breakfast Makes Kids Like Them for Lunch
A third reason to serve vegetables for breakfast is that kids tend to eat MORE vegetables if they've had them recently. It seems counterintuitive, but kids who eat a vegetable get into a "healthy mode" of appetite. You probably have noticed in yourself that if you eat a doughnut, you don't have much of a desire for a salad, but if you eat a tasty bowl of vegetable soup, other healthy food seems tasty. If you feed your child a vegetable for breakfast, he'll be more interested in vegetables for lunch, snacks, and dinner.
Read more about this technique here.
What is a Healthy Breakfast?
The healthiest breakfast should have some protein (eggs, sausage, cheese, etc.), vegetables and fruit.
How to Serve Vegetables for Breakfast
If I've convinced you to feed your child vegetables for breakfast, your next question is probably "how?". What vegetable recipes are still respectable breakfast food? Most people think of cereal, bakery items, eggs, and bacon when they think of breakfast food. Vegetables rarely factor in.
One option is the time-honored hash browns or home fries. You can use frozen hash browns or microwave a potato in the microwave, chop it up, and saute it in olive oil. Potatoes are just a start to this dish, however. You can add almost any vegetable to the potatoes to make them more interesting and nutritious. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, garlic, fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, oregano), sweet potatoes...and any other vegetable you happen to have in your refrigerator. Just chop them up and cook them along with the potatoes.
Another time-honored option is the omelet or scramble. Saute chopped vegetables in olive oil, add herbs, and then scramble in an egg. More experienced cooks (or those with more time) can pour the vegetables on a plate temporarily, and then use the same pan for cooking an omelet, with the vegetables added as a filling.
Once you get used to eating vegetables for breakfast, you can branch out into less conventional breakfast dishes. Your young child doesn't know the conventions of his culture yet, so a side of buttered lima beans (call them "breakfast beans"!) won't phase him at all.
Remember, if you teach your 3 year old to like vegetables for breakfast, he may still be making vegetables for himself when he's 30 years old! A lifetime of good eating habits begins in the first few years.
Would you like a simple, easy-to-follow program that will teach your child to love healthy food? See my new book Teach Your Child to Love Healthy Food on amazon.com.
25 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables
Why Children Don't Like Vegetables -- And What You Can Do About It
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