Can you cook vegetarian recipes for kids and enable them to have a healthy nutritious diet? One simple answer - yes!
Ensure that your child has a balanced and varied diet and you can have confidence that your child will grow to be a healthy and fully developed adult. Unbiased sources such as the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and WebMD confirm this.
To give your child the best possible diet, try to cook vegetarian recipes for kids that include the following foods:
One of the best ways to encourage kids to eat veggie food is to get them involved in creating the meal. In general, kids love to be creative and love getting hands on with food. Of course this will need to be tailored according to the child's age and ability, but there is always a task that they can be given towards making the dish. Younger children can help with stirring the sauce or a mixture in a bowl, older children can stuff cannelloni (see below!) grate cheese, chop veggies, fill tacos and quesadillas, knead pizza dough and then arrange the toppings on pizzas or stuff a pepper before baking. When a child has invested time and energy in the preparation of the food, they are usually keener to eat the output!
Ensure your child is kitchen safe - supervise them if they are using knives or are near hot pans or ovens.
Other ways to inspire younger children to eat a variety of veggie dishes often include making the food on the plate more appealing. Try using cookie cutters to cut finger foods (such as sandwiches, pieces of cheese, cucumber, pepper etc) into interesting shapes. You can even link in with their latest passion, such as cutting into the shape of a car, train, animal etc. Serve soup in their favourite mug (making sure it isn't too hot) and let them get hands on (and messy) with foods like tacos (letting them choose their own fillings)
Allow kids to create a picture on their plate with their food. Perhaps they can make a face out of the veggies on the plate - using a variety of sizes and preparation methods for their food (e.g. grated carrot for hair, circles of cucumber for eyes, lots of chopped pieces of red pepper for the mouth, some unsalted nuts for a nose etc) With any luck the child will be focused on the fun on the plate that they won't object to the food going into their mouths!
Many kids love to dip their food. Try chopping veggie sticks such as carrot, pepper and cucumber and serving these alongside bread sticks with nutritious dips such as hummus or smashed avocado.
And if your child resists all these options, try liquidising vegetables into a sauce for pasta or pizza, or hiding them in a smoothie! Have patience and know that this phase will pass!
By enjoying a wide variety of food at a younger age, this will help to bring up a young person with a real interest in food along with a mature sense of taste. Veggie-yum.com includes lots of vegetarian recipes for kids. Why not show them the site and let them suggest what they would like to have for dinner!