I strive to make every meal as nutrient dense as possible. My philosophy is…every bite counts. Sometimes the best way to ensure that all of this amazing food will be eaten is to employ a bit of trickery. I don’t feel bad at all about using such methods as it is the best way to get a lot of great nutrition into the kids without a food battle. What is it about looking at a plate of food that is so daunting to a child? It does not always happen, but when the fear of vegetables arises it takes hold pretty quickly! I was thinking today, during my workout because that is when I get my best ideas :), that part of the trick of kids meals is to simplify the complexity in the delivery. At school, kids only have 30 minutes to eat lunch which means the meal has to be as simple to eat as possible.
Making sauces is an awesome way to get tons of veggies into your kids without them seeing that they are eating an actual vegetable. It also ensures that they won’t have to reveal to their friends at school that they actually like vegetables. (Ridiculous as that is!)
In this sauce I used some veggies from the garden: eggplant, tomatoes banana and bell peppers. I supplemented with veggies from the farmer’s marked: yellow squash, zucchini and red onion. I used herbs from the front porch: basil, sage, oregano and parsley.
A quick TIP ask your farmers at the farmer’s market if they spray. Most cannot afford an organic certification but they follow similar practices. The most important thing is if they are spraying the vegetables with pesticides and herbicides. If they are, move on and find one that does not. It is worth the extra effort. Yours and your kids’ endocrine system and gut will thank you!!
I added about a tablespoon of coconut oil to the sauce pot and cooked the vegetables over medium heat until soft. Then I added the herbs and about 2 TBSP of nutritional yeast for a slightly nutty and cheesy flavor without the dairy.
TIP: I buy the nutritional yeast in bulk from Whole Foods. It is light and your don’t need a lot for a dish. It is the most cost effective way to buy it!!
Finally puree all in the Vitamix and you have a sauce!! I store it in mason jars and reheat it in a small pot on the stove with the noodles on the school morning before packing it in their thermos.
Now, find a pasta that also packs a nutritional punch like Tolerant brand green lentil pasta from Thrive Market and you have a double bonus!! Trader Joe’s also sells 100% black bean pasta but it comes out very mushy. It’s all about the fiber! We want our littles consuming as much whole food fiber as they can!
This one serving alone has over 20 grams of fiber! That’s more than most American adults get in a whole day!
This was the girls’ lunch plate with the pasta. I also added their left over soaked oats with blueberries, coconut manna, sprouted sunflower seeds and cinnamon from breakfast. For more veggies I added steamed broccoli with olive oil and salt and balsamic beets with tumeric.
Sometimes there is more time for lunch and you can build it together! Yesterday, the girls and I harvested a few veggies from our garden and they picked out what they wanted to eat for lunch.
I chopped everything up and sautéed it in coconut oil.
They decided on a base of seed bread and sardines.
We topped their sandwich with the veggie saute and added a side of red kuri squash with coconut manna. Red kuri squash is a fabulous winter squash…you can even eat the skin!! Coconut manna is a great topper to veggies. It adds a healthy fat and a bit of fiber along with a nutty flavor. It’s a great alternative to dairy! A little goes a really long way.
Lunch was a hit! Annabelle ate her sandwich “normally” and Madelyn deconstructed hers and ate everything separately.
Find your delivery route but keep trying! Every second of preparation is worth the effort! Think about the healing power of nutrition and apply that thought process to the everyday preparation for your kids! Please share your thoughts, tips and tricks here or on my Facebook page!!.