If you’ve ever had a fussy eater in the family you will understand the frustration and anxiety this can cause. Since my children were born I have invested a huge amount of time in thinking, researching, planning and producing healthy meals for them, trying to ensure they get the best nutritional start AND, hoping that some of these habits remain with them into adulthood.
Feeding children however, is one of those things where the effort is often disproportionate to what is actually achieved. As babies and toddlers, perhaps that comes in the form of throwing food on the floor or just decorating themselves in it. With older children this can be a full on food refusal, or comments like “that’s disgusting” – as a parent this feels like letting all the air out of a balloon. You literally feel deflated.
Whilst I would just love all my children to eat a rainbow of vegetables and a general good variety of things, part of the food refusal I’ve learnt over the years is not the taste of the food, but the texture.
One way around this is to sneak in various things along the way, things that go undetected.
For example, I’ve been adding broccoli powder to things like bolognese for a few years now and ground seed mixes packed with Omegas into chicken curries and other dishes. The children don’t know, but I know they are still getting extra goodness, so it’s added reassurance when we are going through fussy periods.
All four children like pasta and one easy way to pack a meal of pasta full of goodness is with a homemade tomato sauce.
What I use
1 pint of Gluten Free Vegetable Stock (low salt)
A large onion
A large courgette
A large red pepper
A large tomato or several smaller tomatoes
Broccoli powder (2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs (salt free herbs)
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
Finely chop all the vegetables
Add the onions to a pan with a small amount of coconut oil and cook for 5 minutes
Add the peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes
Add the courgette, tomatoes and herbs and cook for a further 5 minutes before stirring in the tomato puree and broccoli powder
Add the stock, stir and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for around 15 minutes (you can some water here if needed).
Leave to cool and then liquidise using a blender.
Practical for time-pressed parents
You can keep this in the fridge for up to a week and it also freezes really well. I tend to pop some in the fridge and freeze the rest.
You can use this to make quick, healthy homemade pizzas too. Just spread some on the top of a wrap, add any additional toppings and pop in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
This is great as a pasta sauce, stirred through rice or mixed with chicken or pork. You can also use it as bolognese sauce of course. Even the fussiest of eaters won’t know what’s gone into this sauce!