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Food Chaining: Food Ideas

Posted Aug 03 2008 12:00am
Hi. There are many ways to move toward a goal of adding fruit, meat and vegetables to your child's diet. The problem with the big three here (everyone's goal foods) is the texture and the fact that these foods vary widely each time you eat them. Meat can be tough or grainy, flavor varies, broth can come out during chewing, fruits and vegetables are never consistent even in the same serving. Think of how many different experiences you have had eating corn on the cob, a banana, an apple or a watermelon...we are happy when we get a "good one." Sometimes we discard the food if it isn't what we wanted. There are no surprises with processed foods that our kids seek. Chicken nuggets are always chicken nuggets. Crackers and chips don't vary in taste, texture or temperature.
So how can you work toward these more challenging and complex foods?
Vegetables...consider Veggie Stix, a vegetable based snack food, vegetable crackers or Pirate's Booty and seasoned chips made from beets, sweet potato, spinach or kale...they are very good. Salsa, spaghetti sauce with veggies added, cheese soup with pureed vegetables, cheese sauce over vegetables (only if the child likes dip, if not then don't do this). Sweet potato fries, raw veggies cut in narrow strips with dips, zucchini bread, carrot cake, fruit breads, muffins, fruit filled pastries, fruit or yogurt smoothies, shakes, drinkable yogurts. V-8 Splash is a drink with fruit and vegetables. These may be starting points to work toward the actual fruit, vegetable or a healthier version of meat. One way to do this is to move your child from chicken nuggets to other breaded meats and eventually to baked meat with a crunchy topping. Baked meats dipped in condiments may also work for kids who like to dip.
Just some ideas...Happy Chaining!
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