Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Eat your Veggies, Please!

As a mother of two, I’ll admit, I’m no Mrs. Cleaver. Dinner is rarely on the table when my husband gets home from work and I rarely greet him in a dress and pearls. One of my biggest struggles as a working mother is dinner preparation. I’d be lying if I said that my family didn’t indulge in the occasional fast food meal or pizza for dinner during the week nights. While the healthiness of our dinner is very important to me, convenience is equally important.

As if that’s not a lot to juggle, add in a toddler that has an incomplete mouth full of teeth and a toddler who has an opinion and dinner time becomes my not so favorite time of the day.  I’ve learned that this is a shared issue among many of my friends and family. We all commonly ask these food related questions: How do you get your kids to eat vegetables? How do you find meals that the entire family will like and eat? How to you prevent dinner time from becoming short order style?

At the recommendation of my pediatrician we invoked a rule at our dinner table called a polite bite.  My daughter must try a polite bite of all items served for dinner (try meaning eat and swallow one bite.)  Only after she attempts to try something can she decide not to eat it.

We invoke this same policy when dining out and I’ve discovered something interesting. My daughter will try and eat things at a restaurant that she would never attempt at home. This is the case with broccoli.  While dining out one evening on Chinese food, my daughter exclaimed how much she loved the broccoli in her chicken fried rice. After that I attempted to serve her broccoli multiple times at home but she never liked it.  Recently we enjoyed a Sunday dinner at an Italian restaurant. Lily’s entrée included a side of broccolini. Broccolini, I thought, what a cute way to say broccoli. Once our dinner was served I realized that broccolini wasn’t baby broccoli, it was different. By different I mean sweet, crisp with smaller florets and longer, thinner stalks.  Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and a hybrid of the cabbage family. My daughter gobbled up every ounce of broccolini and I was ecstatic.

Over the weekend I was able to purchase broccolini at the market and after searching through Pinterest recipes, I found a suitable preparation plan.  I served broccolini for Sunday dinner and my daughter ate like it was candy.  Finally, a dinner without a fight to eat vegetables and a win for mom!

Simple Garlic Broccolini
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds broccolini
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
Course sea salt and pepper, if desired

Trim tough ends off of broccolini (you should end up with 4 to 5-inch long, thin stalks). Lightly steam broccolini about one to two minutes, until it is crisp-tender (not starting to get mushy).

Add the olive oil and garlic to a pan over medium heat. Cook garlic 2 to 3 minutes. Add broccolini to pan and saute for an additional minute.  Top with sea salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve warm.

 Mindy Seals works in the information technology division at Texas Health Resources and is balancing work, married life and raising two kids.

1 comment:

  1. I made this last night and my two-year-old loved it! Thank you for the recipe. I am always looking for quick, delicious, kid-approved ideas for dinner. I only wish I had taken a picture of her with her big green smile of it stuck in her teeth!