Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Child (Food) Psychology 102

I've fessed up to a few "Mom Tricks" in the past year. Nothing like spinach in brownies, but at least one good, honest tactic for making those veggies in plain sight disappear.

You eye the vegetable on your child's plate. Say, "Mmmm, broccoli! I looove that!" Eye the plate again and look back at your child. Beg for the broccoli. "Are you going to eat that? Because I want it!" The previously ignored vegetable matter is now prime desired food. Simply because you want it. Your child will now taunt you as she eats the food, laughing her way to three helpings. This plays on the whole toddler "Mine!" thing. And it's worked for a long time. Vegetables are fun!

Thing is, the Kiddo is no longer a toddler. She will be wise to this trick in a flash. It's time to graduate to the big league and employ those techniques that empower your child and give them control — while they eat healthy. Charlotte over at The Great Big Vegetable Challenge made this whole approach into an amazing blog. We're not quite ready age-wise for this, but I see it down the road, even if the Kiddo eats veggies.

In the meantime, I have started the Fruit of the Week to combat neophobia (fear of new foods). I have also taken to putting the Kiddo to work in the kitchen. She has mastered the cold prep for scrambled eggs. She even corrected me one day when I forgot the salt. Her new favorite dish? You got it, scrambled eggs. Because she makes them herself.

I put this new approach to the test when I had her blend the dry ingredients for pumpkin bread, another follow up in Battle Orange. I also had her pour in the raisins. When the orange bread ended up on her dinner plate, all we had to say was, "Hey, it's the bread you helped make! You did a great job." In it went, orange, raisins and all.

I like this approach. It also keeps me from gaining weight by eating off her plate nightly. But I really like the empowerment and the shared experience of preparing food together. Sure beats rotting in front of the TV.

Come spring, we're going to put in a garden. A small one. I plan on having the Kiddo help with the garden, then help prepare the fruits of our labor. I am expecting the love of food from that garden to grow just as the plants do.

Pumpkin Bread
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cake spice (or use 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice)
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. (Good job for the kiddos). In the work bowl of the mixer, put the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Cream this mixture on medium for about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl down to be sure all is combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined, scraping as needed. Pour in the pumpkin puree and the raisins and mix on low until just combined. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Rachel said...

the funny thing is, it ain't even dirty tricks! I've also started getting Jess in the kitchen to "help" cook, usually baking projects. OK, yes, when she stirs the bread mix, at least a quarter cup of flour et al ends up on the counter, the floor, licked up from fingers. And in the current weekend fav, scones, Jess has a hands-on approach to cutting the butter into the flour that usually results in some, er, chewy scones. But it's fun!

Word to the wise on the garden: Jess is definitely learning to appreciate leafy greens, but I have to restrain her from ripping handfuls of bok choi or lettuce from the plants - my poor bok choi looks like it's been attacked by the Very Hungry Caterpiller On Anabolic Steroids! And she's taken to digging out 1/3 of the carrot bed area to "check" if they'd done yet. Um, not at this rate, sweetie!

The Expatriate Chef said...

I grew lettuce in pots on the desk. Kiddo would go out and pull the lettuce off and just eat it plain. Same with the herbs. Am sure we'll have some good stories to trade with a real garden!

The Expatriate Chef said...

oops. deck, not desk. Freudian. End of work day. going home.