This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
Salma Hayek is proud of her 4 year-old daughter eating vegetables.
“I camouflage them. They love pasta… [so] I put [them] in tomato sauce,” she revealed during a Friday appearance on Rachael Ray Show. “You know what you can hide really well? Aubergine, roast carrots, roast bell peppers [and] you can put a little bit of greens if you put enough of the other stuff.”
Apparently, Salma hides these vegetables in her child’s food by pureeing them. “You have to really purée [the vegetables]. It’s the way to do it.” She added: “There’s got to be no clue that you lied because then she’ll find it, like, ‘Aha!’”
I think, Salma has a good reason to be proud of her daughter eating healthy foods. There is also something to be said about parents teaching their kids about nutrition. Your child can eat a bunch of vegetables at four years old and not eat any when he or she is a bit older, at seventeen, for example. I believe that our job as parents is to educate our children about healthy nutrition, to explain why vegetable are needed and to leave the kids with no option of not eating vegetables. If the only food the child can have access to is the food on the family’s table, he or she will eat what’s on that table. Maybe, it’s a good idea to put some real, not pureed, broccoli on it?
Yes, we may have to do some hiding at first. I’ve done it, too! I used to put cauliflower puree in mac and cheese for a stubborn, whiny kid. Eventually, however, we have to start slowly introducing “real,” not just pureed veggies to the table, if we want our children to learn and retain good eating habits for life. Casseroles and cooked vegetable dishes are a good place to start, because of their soft texture.
When it comes to transitioning to raw vegetables, sometimes bribery works (“eat this salad and you will get a toy”) and sometimes leaving no other options works ( “eat this salad or you get nothing else to eat.”) Sometimes you have to promise a cookie after a salad. These are all steps on the journey to instilling healthy habits. Sometimes you have to make two steps forward, four steps back on this journey, but since your goal is teaching healthy habits for a lifetime, not stuffing the child with squash right here and right now or else, you are still succeeding. Clinging to the blender in hope that it will do your job as a parent is not a good long-term strategy. A blender will puree your carrot, but it won’t teach your child.
And the best way to teach children is, of course, by example.
What do you think?