Good Eater Secrets, Part 3
This week I
am sharing the yummy food secrets of a wonderfully creative woman, wife and mom
who I met through a mutual close friend several years ago. Rebecca has two
little girls, ages 2 and 4, and loves to cook for and with her family.
See below to
read how the Food Network and "Dora the Explorer" have helped to shape the way
she presents foods to her girls! She also shares her tantalizing turkey feta burger
and cous cous salad recipes at the end of today's post!
opinion, are your children good eaters?
always been good eaters? Even as babies?
Yes! I made
my own baby food, not only because it was cost effective, but because the
colors were so vibrant and fun to look at. Not to mention ... I enjoyed eating
some of it, too (apples and sweet potato
purees, especially!). I love to cook and find we're in the kitchen a lot, so
maybe being in there so frequently during the day has helped them grow to love
being around food, as well.
5 of your children's favorite foods.
broccoli, berries of any kind, edamame, yogurt (drinkable with probiotics),
soup (that I make), and brown rice (sorry I couldn't limit it!).
5 of your children's non-preferred foods.
(because of the strings), eggs, cheese (sometimes they go back and forth with
this...don't like it melted as much as cold), and peanut butter. There's not a
ton they don't really like.
cook/bake with your children? If so, how often (e.g., once a week, once a day,
probably three times a week, pending our schedule. If we don't cook a big
dinner together, I'll have them help me with little tasks for different
meals/snacks such as squeezing lime/adding salt/pepper into our guacamole, or
"decorating" our Greek yogurt by sprinkling cinnamon, crunchy cereal,
and dried fruit, and adding a "river" of honey.
What type of
meals/dishes do you make with them?
from something as simple as smoothies (where I let them pour the ingredients
into the blender) all the way up to turkey burgers (see recipe below!). When my
younger daughter naps, it gives me a chance to connect with my older daughter,
talk and have fun in the kitchen. She loves to help me assemble ingredients,
see how things transform into shapes in the food processor, see how the colors
change and most importantly ... taste test!
children like tasting new foods?
heard before that we "eat with our eyes first" (I watch a little too
much Food Network!), and in our case, I've found that to be very true.
refuse to taste/eat any food, what do you do?
will take a bite off of my plate (because we almost always have the exact same
thing, especially for dinner) and make (well, ok ... sometimes obnoxiously
enthusiastic) sounds of pure delight and comment on how delicious it is, how
crunchy and sweet (let's say) the red peppers are.
If that doesn't work, you may find me turning into some sort of very hungry
food monster, digging into their plate with my mean and mighty fork and snagging
a piece of their food. That will normally do the trick, and gain a smile.
Also, I often create "scenes" on the girls' plates by
taking all of the components of their lunch and turn it into a piece of art: a
ray of carrot stick sunshine, slices of Persian cucumber (no seeds, much
crunchier and smaller than a normal cucumber) as eyes, red pepper strips as
eyebrows, a nose constructed from a piece of cheese, broccoli
"trees", and so on.
I've found that "walking them through" eating their
masterpieces helps get them excited to try something new. "Yum! How do
those green broccoli trees taste? Delicioso?" (We're also big Dora fans,
you see)" -- just play along with them. Part of mealtime is getting your
kids to eat healthy stuff, but it should also be about having conversations,
sharing stories and enjoying your food and your family. Bon appetite!
The Recipes Rebecca loves making for/with her girls:
Turkey Feta Burgers with
Parsley-Feta Pesto and Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad
- 1 pkg ground
- 1/4 small red
onion, 1/2 red bell pepper (sauteed)
- 1 TBSP cumin,
oregano, grill seasoning
- 1/2 cup bread
(or panko) crumbs
- 1/4 cup feta,
cut into small cubes (or crumbled if you buy it that way)
- Mix all
ingredients together in bowl.
- Shape into
- Grill or cook on
Parsley Feta Pesto
- 1 bunch (or
less) washed, fresh parsley
- 1/2 brick
feta,cut into pieces
- (or about 1/2
- 1/3 cup EVOO
- 1/2 lemon,
- pepper to
taste (enough salt in feta)
- Mix in
- Serve on top
proportions -- if it's too thick, add more EVOO, etc.
- I normally serve this
with warmed pita, cous cous salad that's chock full of cucumber, tomato, red
pepper, red onion, (already have it cut from what I sauteed earlier), lemon
juice, and olive oil.