Looking for kid-friendly recipes that the whole family can enjoy? Eager for tips to make meal-time more pleasant? Or ways to encourage your children to eat more fruits and vegetables? In each edition of the First Bites Newsletter we will highlight a different vegetable and share several quick and easy recipes that celebrate that vegetable. In addition, we will provide tips and advice to help you teach your children healthy eating habits. If your child is in a class participating in the First Bites program, this information will reinforce what they are learning about in the classroom. But don’t worry if your child isn’t in the program – you can still read along here, make the recipes and try the healthy eating habits tips at your own kitchen table.
Vegetable of the Week: Carrots are a great vegetable for children. They are generally sweet and make a fun loud crunching sound (when eaten raw). They are also widely available and hardy, if stored in a plastic bag or paper towel in the coolest part of the fridge.
Children in the First Bites program made carrot smoothies. Children love smoothies (especially if they get to use a straw!) and adding a vegetable to a smoothie is a simple and easy way to increase vegetable consumption.
First Bites Carrot Smoothies (Makes about 2 cups of smoothie)
1 ripe banana
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water (used reserved carrot water from steaming)
handful of ice cubes
1. Wash hands and clean the produce and workspace.
2. Peel and wash the carrots.
3. Chop 5 carrots into ½ inch thick slices. Put sliced carrots in a bowl, cover with water and put on a microwave safe cover. Microwave for 2 minutes. (You can also steam the carrots on the stove). They should be soft when done. If they aren’t soft, microwave for another 1-2 minutes. Take care when opening the bowl as the hot steam will fly out. Drain the carrots but keep the liquid.
4. Add carrots, banana, milk, applesauce, cinnamon and water (reserved from carrots) into a blender. Blend. Add ice cubes and blend again. When well blended, pour into cups and enjoy.
Hands on Learning for Children
- Smelling each ingredient (and especially the applesauce and cinnamon) before it is added to the mixture
- Peeling the carrots (needs adult supervision)
- Slicing the carrots (needs with adult supervision)
- Pouring and measuring the ingredients
- Adding ingredients to the blender
- Pouring smoothies into cups (It's best to transfer the smoothie from the blender to a smaller pitcher so children can pour it themselves)
Another easy way to prepare carrots is to roast them. Roasting vegetables (like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and parsnips) is easy to do and brings out the sweetness in the vegetable. Here is a simple roasting chart from 100 Days of Real Food.
Healthy Eating Habits Discussion: Most of us have clear philosophies when it comes to potty training or sleep training. Yet many of us don’t have formal approaches to how we feed our children. Must they eat what is served at meal times or go hungry? Do they get to decide what is for dinner? Do they have to try everything on their plates? Must they eat their “healthy” food before dessert? The First Bites program is centered around the Division of Responsibility (DOR) feeding approach, as developed by Ellyn Satter, an internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding. For more on this approach, you can read here.
Here is a short summary of the DOR. In each edition of the First Bites Newsletter, we will address a different part of this approach.
What is a parent’s job in feeding children? Parents determine what is served, when it is served and where it is served. What is the child’s job? Children choose how much to eat and whether or not to eat from what parents (or other adults) offer.
Adults should choose and prepare the food, offer it for meals and snacks, make eating times pleasant and be good role models at the table. They should also limit grazing between meals and snack times, so children come to the table hungry and ready to eat. Parents (or other adults) should trust children to eat the amount of food they need to eat.