It's an opportunity….

Nov 1 Roast Vegetables

The World Health Organisation categorised processed meats as 'carcinogenic' last week, which created much discussion in the media.  There was much debate from both sides about the merits of the science and the evidence, but there was one practical comment from a meat industry spokesperson that I really liked: 'Eating meat provides an opportunity to eat vegetables and whole grains'. I really liked this as I prefer hearing messages about what we should eat and the benefits of different foods as opposed to what we shouldn't eat and why things are 'bad'.

I thought about this comment for the rest of the week and tried to apply it to our every day life.  Could each meal and snack be an 'opportunity to eat vegetables'.  Starting with breakfast, we had tomato or avocado on toast, instead of spread, and then in the weekend, instead of scrambled eggs, we had an omelette and added some mushroom, tomato, corn and onion.

When my nearly 2 year old wanted pasta for dinner, instead of just the usual tomato based sauce, I took the opportunity to 'add vegetables' and snuck some mashed kumara and carrot into the sauce (successfully!).    The next night when I was preparing home made chips to have with fish, I also chopped some kumara, parsnip, yams and pumpkin into chunks and added them to the oven tray.

When making a rice salad for lunch, the recipe said to add chopped capsicum.  I made my own adaption and added some corn, cucumber and carrot.  I also managed to get some of the mashed vegetables stirred into baked beans one lunchtime also.

When it came to snack time, I made sure I offered some vegetables as well as the usual snacks, not instead of.  Crackers and hummus are a common snack at our house, and therefore I made a conscious effort to always put some carrot or celery sticks out on the plate as well as the crackers.

So if you have trouble getting vegetables into your children, try to make more 'opportunities to have vegetables' over the day.  Keep asking yourself if you can include vegetables to your meal or snack as opposed to having them 'instead of 'what you were planning to have.  Over the day it will all add up.