“I love the calming rhythm of chopping veg and transforming them into good food that will nourish my gang.”
On this weeks blog we talk with Ruth Delahunty, the amazing woman behind Yogaru and a busy mum of 3! Ruth is a plant powered advocate and joins us to share her top tips on getting kids to eat more veg!
“We’re all a species on this planet, we’re all imperfect humans trying to do our best and I think it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing,”
THE COMFORT OF HOME COOKING
I grew up in a busy family of five. My mum was a fantastic home cook and there was always tantalising smells coming from the kitchen. There is something very comforting about seeing food being lovingly prepared and cooked. Some of my happiest memories are dinner times where we would all regrouped together again, shared a family meal and stories from our days. These are the happy family memories I want to give my kids.
Cooking is my downtime. I love the calming rhythm of chopping veg and transforming them into good food that will nourish my gang. My kids are very good eaters but I’ve had plenty of noses turned up at dinners over the years. If you get anxious about what they don’t eat they’ll get anxious too, which is not what you want at your dinner table. Persistence and consistency is key and don’t give up! Keep an open mind and never presume they won’t like it. You’re building their future health by helping them love veg. Most importantly relax and enjoy the journey of building memories and the family ceremonies of dinner time.
LET THEM EAT VEG
You are the most influential person in your kids lives and one of your main jobs at this important stage is to educate them about the world of food and flavours. With your guidance you can help them develop a palate for a wide variety of food, particularly veg. A kid that doesn’t build a taste for good foods is potentially an adult with health problems.
I’m not a big fan of making smiley faces out of every meals for your kiddies or blending everything to hide the veg. The beauty of veg is the abundance of colours and textures. At some stage your kids will have to get used to this and it’s our job to guide and encourage them to be adventurous and try new and interesting flavour and textures. My kids have a very good palate for veg but they all have at least one veg that is not their favourite. House rule is they still eat it anyway. From the get go there was not an option to skip components of a dinner or I’d have been driven demented tailoring meals to everyone’s likes and dislikes. We all eat the same meals and as a result they eat a huge variety of vegetables and are very adventurous with trying new foods.
10 Top tips to help your kids love veg
- Bring them to the supermarket or your local farmers market and let them pick some veg for dinner or some fruit for school lunches.
- Seeing you food prep shows them the time and love that goes into dinner. It also gets them curious about ingredients, tickles their taste buds and gets them nice and hungry with the delicious smells.
- Routine your mealtimes. Have a ‘no tech at the table’ rule and teach them basic table manners. Everyone stays at the table until everyone is done.
- Eat with them as much as possible. Let them see you enjoying veg and being a good role model.
- Use dinnertime as a chance to catch up with everyone and share your day.
- Bit controversial but we do have dessert every night which is an incentive to eat their dinner! Most nights dessert might be a piece of fruit, ‘porridge whip’ which is blended oats with fruit, or a homemade flapjack.
- Again another rule breaker but I do have a clean plate policy. But I am careful to plate up an age appropriate modest dinner that I know they will manage. ‘I’m full’ is too easily used as a scapegoat for a veg they don’t love.
- Make Friday a special request day. I menu plan for the week and let them pick dinner on Friday night. If the rest of the week was full of an abundance of veg Friday can be a bit more flexible.
- Be creative with how you cook veg and what you add them to. Roast veg makes them naturally sweeter and is a great way to introduce new veg. Invest a bit of time in being a home cook, do a happy pear online course and learn to make veg that tastes amazing.
- Kids love a plate full of variety and colour. One of their favourite dishes from The Happy Pear cafe is the Buddha bowl which has a little bit of everything served with a generous dollop of hummus and kimchi. Kids love sauces and dips! We eat a huge amount of hummus over the course of a week.
I recently partook in the new The Ultimate Vegan Cooking Course and the kids were in heaven. Four weeks of pizzas, pastas, stews, curries and burgers. All loaded with fresh whole food plant based ingredients so everyone was happy and healthy!
Ruth Delahunty Yogaru
Follow Ruth’s journey on Instagram here where you can see some of her plant based creations and also great yoga practice tips!