Friday, May 23, 2008

Try, Try Again

Picky eaters can be tough. My middle son is quite sensitive to the appearance of his food, its taste, and its texture. The "experts" say children will often need to be exposed to a food a dozen or more times before they'll like it or even try it.

Try 100 times.

I must have offered green beans at least 100 times to AJ between age 1-3 before he willingly tried them. I never complained, never forced him to try a bite. I also never offered "alternative" meals. I just offered, asked, and modeled eating them again and again and again, and eventually, one night, he took one out of his ma po tofu dish and tried it. And another. And soon they became a favourite. Just like that.

But I was beginning to lose any hope of him ever liking cucumbers. While they are one of Ryan's favourite foods, AJ wouldn't touch them...until this week.
I was making an asian cucumber salad, as I have done probably a dozen times in their presence. Ryan and Nate were clamouring at my side to "steal" a piece before I had even finished the dressing. Suddenly there was AJ, talking about the soy sauce I was adding to the dressing (one of his favourite condiments), and asking to have a bite also.
He ate half a dozen slices right there.
The next afternoon, when I offered everyone popcorn and banana halves as a snack, AJ said, "No, I want cucumber salad." He ate 3 bowlsful.
Now I have to be careful. Whenever he gets turned on to a new food, I don't want to let him overindulge. I strive to keep these foods a novelty for a while. In a month or so, when cucumbers are in season at the farm, I'll probably say, "Ooookaaaaay, we'll make a cucumber salad," like it's a special treat. And after a few hundred tries, for me, it is a treat to see my picky eater enjoying a new food. But boy does it take patience.


Pizza/pesto foccacia.
I used some frozen pesto
from last summer to cover
my half (and tomato), and some
homemade sauce (with
pureed pumpkin & collard
greens hidden in it) topped
with Veganrella cheeze and
dandelion greens on the
boys' side. Veganrella is a
great soy-free vegan
cheeze that melts well.

Magpiedee's Nudgies

1 can (or equivalent) pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup light brown sugar

3 cups oatmeal
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup ground or whole flax seeds
1-2 T. spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice)

Combine first 3 ingredients in large bowl, then add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
If desired, add 1 cup walnuts or other nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc.
Spread in a 13x9 inch baking dish or brownie pan (I use a Pampered Chef medium-sized Stoneware bar pan).
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into bars or squares.

These get eaten like brownies at our house. They also freeze really well, and are a great snack on hot summer days just out of the freezer.

** Huge thanks to Delilah D for sharing this recipe with me. She is one incredibly creative mama. **

This recipe is so versatile. You can replace the pumpkin with just about any fruit or vegetable. I have made pumpkin-pea nudgies, carrot-zucchini nudgies, blueberry-banana nudgies. You are only limited by your imagination! And they taste fantastic!


For Ryan's preschool field trip to a farm I packed him a bag of nudgies and a juice box.

AJ also got a nudgie bar
for his snack, along
with some Veggie Booty.

Dinner started out as a lazy ramen noodle night, but then I got carried away adding side dishes:dinner: ramen noodles & broccoli with peanut sauce; cold tofu; cucumber salad; honeydew melon; shiitake mushrooms; spinach.
Nate just couldn't get enough of the shittake mushrooms. He and my husband finished off the leftovers after dinner. They were a very simple recipe from Japanese Cooking that I will definitely be making again as soon as I can restock my dried shiitake supply!

Ryan's snack: Mini Golf!
Sliced cucumber "turf", white chocolate chip "golfball", carrot "putter", artichoke hummus "sandtrap", red bell pepper "flowers", and snow pea & lettuce "rough". Plus a few Wheat Thins square crackers to mop up any extra hummus.

lunch: spicy rosemary
(veganized) from
the Barefoot Contessa.
My husband loved it.
While I thought it was
very tasty, it was a
bit too greasy for me. I
think I'd rather bake it
than fry it if I make it again.

Ryan & AJ: soba noodles; carrots; edamame; mini blueberry muffin.

My second breakfast:
soba noodle salad with
edamame, cucumber,
tomato, sesame oil &
soy sauce.

Star Snacks: cantaloupe & honeydew melon; sesame tofu; soy cheese; Tofutti cream cheese & jelly sandwich; white/dark chocolate.

1 comment:

Jumbleberry Jam said...

Mini golf! You're just brilliant!! Where do you find the time/creative juices?!? :-)

Thanks for the 100 times story. I can not get DS to put tofu - of all things - to his lips. I've made it every which way and he won't even taste it. You give me hope.