Who doesn’t have a goal to eat more vegetables? To eat healthier? To enjoy delicious dinners? In a perfect world, kids would smile as they munched through broccoli, kale chips and collard greens. Your spouse would request tofu stir-fry for dinner. Having a toddler at home, I realize getting Mazen to eat his veggies by smiling when I put down his plate is much easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it my best effort! Here are a few tips to get your loved ones to like healthy food as much as you do.
Get Creative With Seasonings
Want to know one of my deep, dark secrets? I put maple syrup on all greens! That’s not entirely true, but I do love garlicky kale and collards finished with a drizzle of maple. The richness takes the bitterness out of the vegetables. I’m not suggesting you douse all veggies in sugar, but go a little heavy on the condiments – BBQ sauce, fancy mustards, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, parmesan, Cajun seasoning. Part of getting your loved ones to like the taste of the natural taste of healthy foods is actually putting them in their mouth. And if that requires a little sauce, so be it.
Be As Enthusiastic About Broccoli As You Are About Cookies
How many times did you hear your mom say: “Now Jennifer, you don’t get any cookies if you don’t finish that broc-coli.” With that slight negative tone on the vegetable part? Show your family how delicious they can be by taking the taboo out of them. I admit it’s hard to do, but when I talk to Mazen about food I try to make them all seem equal. Put as much enthusiasm in your voice when you talk about that baked sweet potato as you do when you talk about buttercream icing. (This may require some effort on your part, but it will be worth it!) Luckily Mazen likes broccoli as much as he likes cookies – when the cookies are out of sight!
Healthier Food Requires No Explanation
Stop cooking in black and white and see the world in color. Getting your family to like a wider variety of healthy foods will take time, so rather than presenting them with a stir-fry of tofu and bok choy, try adding to your standard recipes. Do a beef stir-fry with a little less beef and add some tofu to the mix. Or serve your family’s favorite tacos over salads rather than nacho chips. Similarly, don’t apologize or make a big deal about new foods or healthy swaps. Just do them. Present them as if the meal were normal. When I present Mazen with new foods, I speak very enthusiastically and make the dish seem special. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s golden.
On that note, here’s a recipe that I made a while back and never shared with KERF!
Bacon Cheese Bean Burgers
Keywords: entree sandwich beans bacon cheese
Ingredients (4 burgers)
- 4 slices bacon, chopped into pieces
- 1 1/3 cups pinto beans
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 4 grinds black pepper
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Cook bacon pieces in a hot pan until crispy.
Remove from pan and turn off heat.
Meanwhile, mash remaining ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Use a fork and lots of arm muscle power to turn the beans into a nice mash.
Add bacon and mix.
Form into 4 patties.
Reheat bacon pan (with grease) and sear patties in grease for about 4-5 minutes.
Flip and cook until both sides are brown.
Turn off heat.
Top with shredded cheese and cover for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve on a whole wheat bun or over a leafy salad.