I’ll let you in on a secret. I know how to tempt kids into trying new foods. My methods aren’t foolproof, but they work on my kids. And their friends. And timid adults.

1. Bribery. I’ve told you about that one. Taste the meal and you get extra dessert. Even if you’ve tasted it before and didn’t like it then.

2. Blind taste tests. We tried this game last week with a batch of white and green string beans. My son closed his eyes and tried to guess which green bean he managed to spear with his fork. He got it right the first time (through squinty eyes). And then he tried it again, and again, and again.

3. Chef’s helpers. When you’re a kid, anything you make on your own tastes better. Especially if you get to turn on the stove and use a frying pan. I of course stood by and did all the chopping, but my 9-year-old did the rest. Spicy coconut thai food for the whole family? No problem.

1 chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped thai pepper (discard the seeds, and use less if you want less spice)
1T olive oil
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2t salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1T soy sauce
1t tumeric
1/2t garam masala spice (available at Whole Foods)
1t cumin
1 block cubed firm tofu (You could substitute chicken breast for this)

Cube tofu and marinate in 2T soy sauce and 1T oil. Broil for 5 minutes on each side.

Saute the onion, garlic and pepper in olive oil until light brown. Add coconut milk, water or broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Let simmer 20 minutes. Add soy sauce and spices and let simmer another minute. Add tofu and serve.

Yikes! Those garden peppers are hot!
In for another bite. (Full disclosure: she’s my best eater!)

1 cup brown basmati rice (could use any brown rice for this)
1 chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic
2T oil
1 chopped thai pepper (or less for less spice. or omit if you don’t like any spice)
2 handfuls chopped spinach or kale
1 large chopped summer squash or zucchini
1/2 cup + 2T coconut milk
2T unsweetened coconut flakes
1T tumeric
1/2t garam masala spice (available at Whole Foods)
1 package of tempeh, sliced (available at Trader Joes, near the tofu)
2T and 1t soy sauce

Cook rice according to directions but substitute 1/2 cup coconut milk for 1/2 cup of the water. Saute tempeh in 1T oil until lightly browned on both sides. Add 1t soy sauce and stir.

Dry roast the coconut flakes over a medium flame until brown.

Saute onion, garlic and pepper in remaining oil until lightly browned. Add squash and saute a few minutes more. Add spinach and 2T coconut milk. Saute over medium-high heat until most of the liquid is gone. Add the spices and soy sauce and then stir in the rice. Mix thoroughly. Top with tempeh and coconut flakes.

Made by me!

2 thoughts on “Enticing kids to try new foods

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