If all else fails science will help my 2 year old eat veggies?!?

Part 1 of a 3 part series on Paleo and Kids

I think it is safe to say I do obsess a bit over food, I think about what the family is going to eat a fair bit of the time, I menu plan (blog post to follow soon on how I do this), I research recipes, I research places to source food and because we are on a budget I check the latest specials and all of that before even cooking the food!

So I do spend a fair bit of time thinking about what to feed my 2 year old son (I am sure I am not the only one).  Is it ok to feed him ‘typical” children’s food like vegemite sandwiches that I ate everyday as a child?  If this food caused me issues later in life why should I subject him to eating non paleo foods and running the risk of future health issues?  My philosophy on meal time is that I have always refused to cook a different meal for my son and a different meal for us.  At times I have struggled with this but long term it has been better for the family eating the same foods together at the same time.  This is our family ritual.

But like a typical 2 year old he is fussy and it’s hard to get him to eat at the best of times especially when he has discovered his sweet tooth and asks for party cake and lollies!

So apart from the approach of us all eating together I got him involved in cooking with me.  We have Mondays at home together and we often make some lunch box snacks for the week.  This has worked well with him trying different things as we are cooking (licking the bowl, eating what we have baked while it is still warm). We have the cookbook “Eat like a Dinosaur” which has great ideas for kids Paleo meals with easy instructions and how kids can help you in the kitchen – as an extra bonus my son just loves Dinosaurs!  I find some of the recipes are a little unusual to our tastes and I sometimes modify them to suit us but the ideas are absolutely fantastic.

After all this I still had a problem with dinner time and in particular vegetables!

Enter a couple of interesting articles I read from the whole 9 a few weeks back (just in the nick of time):

http://whole9life.com/2012/08/kids-and-vegetables/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250365.php

The first article was interesting in that it gives 5 tips (based on scientific research) such as making the food visually appealing with lots of colour, how kids like to imitate (so making sure you are eating what’s on your plate) and repeated exposure to foods to name a few.  This made sense but the second article they referenced really sounded like fun and we thought why not give it a go!

It talks about renaming normal food with catchy names that kids will like.  I read it, I got excited I was about to serve dinner and oh no I needed a catchy name quick so salad became “Lion Salad” and chicken kebabs became “chicken on a stick”.  I know great first effort Mum – not!!  But guess what – to my surprise he thought Lion salad was so cool he ate it and roared like a lion after every bite.  This was the first time I had seen him eat salad willingly!  And well we all know kids love anything on stick so the chicken was eaten too.

Wow relief, an easy dinner.

I am not one to be lulled into a false sense of security so the next meal was carrots, cauliflower with cream and some marinated chicken.  I had a little more time and we called this one “Cars Kapow Carrots and Cool Creamy Cauliflower + chicken on a stick”, It was colourful, it was repetitive (this time I cut up the chicken and put toothpicks in each piece) and it had a cool name.  Again it worked!  The next night we had been watching the movie “The Gruffalo” and steak and sweet potato bake became “Gruffalo Steak and scrambled snake potato bake”

kapow cars carot and creamy cauli

“Cars Kapow Carrots and Cool Creamy Cauliflower + chicken on a stick”

Again it worked – was it really this easy all along?  Since then meal time has been a lot easier with him trying the foods with the funny names.  We do have the occasional set back – after all he is only 2 but on the whole a few simple tweaks at dinner and we are all enjoying meal time a lot more.

What successful strategies have you used in the past to get your kids to eat food?  I would love to hear them.

Stay tuned: In my next blog post I will discuss my son’s absolute love of apple juice and how we used Kombucha to ease this sugar addiction before it got too out of control.

A couple of ideas for your leftover Christmas Ham

Primal “Pea and Ham” Soup

When I think of what to do with a ham bone I always think of Pea and Ham soup however green split peas are on my “no” list and most likely yours if you are following Paleo.  I did a bit of a google search on “Paleo pea and ham soup” to see what the alternatives were and I found a recipe on Mark’s Daily Apple Forum.  I modified it slightly so here is what I did:

I brought the ham bone with two cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and about 4L of water to boil, then let it simmer for about 1-2 hours.

Once the ham was falling off the bone, I added 3/4 of a whole cauliflower stalk and all, 1 cup of green beans and 1 carrot.  I then let this simmer for another couple of hours.

I then let the soup cool, pulled out the ham bone and bay leaf and used my hand-held stick blender to whiz it to a thick soup.  Because I am pregnant I am eating dairy at the moment so I added a lovely dollop of full fat sour cream but it also tasted fine without if you are not doing dairy.

pea and ham soup

Quiche with Almond meal base

I wanted to make a quiche with a base as I did not think frittata would be filling enough for a whole day at Dreamworld.  In the past I had used an almond meal base to make meat pies, however the recipe I had used had eggs and I only had enough eggs for the filling so I decided use macadamia nut oil instead.

For the base:

2 cups Almond Meal

1/4 cup Macadamia nut oil

1 1/2 tsp Allergy Free baking soda (picked up local Wray’s Organics)

I mixed everything together, spooned base into a quiche pan and baked until golden (around 15 mins in my fan forced oven)

I pulled it out to cool and then IT CRACKED!!! I was worried but don’t be as when I put the filling in and it all back into the oven it went back to normal (phew!).

For filling I used 6 eggs and whatever was in the fridge. Leftover ham, leftover roast sweet potato, shallots, full fat cheese and a bit of full fat cream (leave out the cheese and cream if you are dairy free!).

I baked this for around 20 mins and it was great served cold with salad in our lunch boxes.

Please note: If you are not used to the texture of almond meal it is a little more crumbly to a normal pastry.

quiche