According to the government's latest nutritional guidelines, half of what your child eats should be fruits and vegetables. Nope, not hot dogs, not chicken nuggets, not pizza, but the stuff that comes out of the ground that almost every child detests. I wish I could say that my kids beg me for more peas and broccoli, but I have a couple of children who only perk up to the sound of ice cream and tater tots. To be fair, so do I.
The difference is that I'm the adult, which make me responsible for making sure my family is healthy. In the past, I used to try everything to get my kids to finish their veggies from bribery to trickery to all out war and nothing seemed to work. It was frustrating and I knew something had to change. Then, I stumbled upon a book that put it all into perspective. The book is called French Kids Eat Everything and it offered a series of rules that made parenting your kids to eat well so obvious!
Taking a cue from the French, here are 10 rules every parent should follow. I know, the French think they're so smart, but this time, they really are right!
- Parents: YOU are in charge of food education
- Avoid emotional eating -- no food rewards, bribes, etc. (this is a tough one!)
- The kids eat whatever the adults eat -- no short-order cooking
- Eat family meals together
- Eat your veggies -- no excuses
- You don't have to LIKE it but you do have to TRY it. Say this at every meal.
- No snacking. It's ok to feel hungry between meals.
- Slow food is happy food. In other words, eat slow!
- Eat mostly real food
- Remember, eating is joyful
It sounds so simple, but I know enforcing these rules at dinner time is not an easy job. But who ever said parenting was easy to begin with! And when the going gets really tough, look to rule number 10 for help, because the occasional meal where the kids can order whatever they want is a nice little break, and not the end of the world either ;)
I've been on a "let's try a new recipe" kick lately, which is very unusual because my evenings are crowded with soccer games and softball games and swim team practices, which means my weekday escapades in the kitchen are far from noteworthy (just ask my kids).
But I invited a dear friend (who is a vegetarian) over for dinner last night, and I did what so many of us do: extended the invitation and then fretted over what to serve. After pouring over sites like epicurious.com, I settled on this quiche recipe. I think it was tasty enough to pass along!
Italian Zucchini Quiche
What you need:
4 cups thinly sliced, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 and 1/4 lbs)
2 medium size onions, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (save $0.75!)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon leaf oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups shredded muenster or mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
1 8 oz can Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (save $0.50!)
What you do:
Preheat oven to 375.
Saute zucchini and onion in butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat until zucchini is tender (approximately 10 minutes). Stir in parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano. Remove from heat.
Stir together eggs and cheese in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture. Separate rolls into triangles. Arrange in 11 inch quiche pan or 10 inch pie plate. Press dough together over bottom and up sides to form crust. Spread mustard over. Add vegetable mixture.
Bake quiche for 35-40 minutes, or until inserted knife comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
I served this with a basic mixed greens salad and a light, white Italian wine and it was really delicious. (So too was the company)!