One of the most timeworn food challenges for parents is getting kids to eat their vegetables. It certainly hasn't gotten any easier for us moms and dads over the years. Our generation of kids is exposed to a wider variety of unhealthy foods now than at any point in history, with hundreds of millions of marketing dollars targeted specifically at our defenseless little ones. For many parents it's just too much of a battle to keep their kids away from prepackaged junky foods. Many finally give in, saying their kids are "picky eaters" or simply that they "don't like vegetables". It's a tough and seemingly endless struggle for us parents, but once you resign yourself to the "well, they just don't like to eat their greens"-type labeling of your little ones, the junky food has won out and kids feel like if they resist you enough -- no matter what the food -- they will eventually get their way. It takes a lot of patience and persistence to change their behavior, but with a few fun tips and always leading by example, my experience has shown that even the pickiest of kids will eat their veggies.
One of my favorite tips is to serve raw or steamed veggies with dips. When food is interactive for kids, it becomes a lot more fun for them to eat. I started making this versatile dip for myself years before I had my kids. I still eat it with steamed artichokes and even on grilled fish. With just a shake, squeeze and stir, you can turn plain ol' yogurt into something that tastes just like Ranch dressing (only it's much better for you).
Whether you put a small serving of this alongside pieces of red bell pepper in a school lunch or serve it with an assortment of carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and green beans at dinnertime, this dip will help inspire the veggie lover in everyone!
Photo by Maren Caruso
Accompaniments: raw or steamed veggies such as baby carrots, celery, cucumber, fennel, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, or jicama