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Growing Youngsters and Nutrition for Kidsphoto

“Chicken Fingers, Hot Dogs or Pizza!”  Anyone who has kids more than likely has been stricken with these choices or nothing at all (except a temper tantrum).  The choice of meals prepared for children has become more and more of a challenge lately. 

When my daughter was born I made it my mission to make her baby food. I tried all kinds of combinations: trout, barley, apples, chicken, carrots and sweet potatos were the favorites. Salmon, broccoli and rice - not so much. She and I made it through the “baby food” years and then progressed to cutting small bites of food that my wife and I were eating for dinner. I am proud to say that my seven year old daughter has a more sophisticated palate than I did in my teens! 

 

The point is to start early. There were things that my daughter would not want to try, my wife and I would tell her to take a “no-thank-you portion.” We let her take a small two bite portion of whatever it was just so she would taste it (Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs & Ham is a great book to help with this lesson). Some foods she would respectively decline and others became new favorites.  Here are some topics that I think will help with the discerning tastes of youngsters that we also often prepare for our growing youngers on the kids menu at Stowe Mountain Lodge.

- Visual stimulation is key to inspire a child's appetite. Lots of color and shapes get them excited.

- Talking about healthy food and seeing you (the parent) eating your veggies too.

- Don't offer "chicken fingers," try a roast chicken instead. There is nothing easier than popping a whole chicken in the oven and in an hour or so you have a wonderful home cooked meal.

- Get creative. At the Lodge we serve "hidden veggie-pepperoni mac and cheese." We saute vegetables and small diced pepperoni and put it in a bowl, top the vegetables with a small amount of mac & cheese and "voila" a mac & cheese with a surprise.

- Try lots of different foods. Kids today are more "worldly" than most of us were when we were their age. This will translate later to them expecting more styles of food. The earlier they are exposed to different cultures' cuisine the better.

- Have fun cooking and get them involved. My daughter loves to help me cook, especially cracking eggs. The more you get them involved, the more they will appreciate food.

Don’t get me wrong, we have pizza night maybe once every two weeks and we make it something to look forward to. Kids need an ever evolving cuisine. My daughter’s new favorite thing for dinner is salmon with broccoli and rice.  I couldn’t get her to eat that combo when she was a baby, but time, patience and perseverance prevailed!  Don’t get frustrated, try new, healthy and different things.  Later on they will thank you for it. Bon Appetit!

 

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