Friday, 7 September 2012

Lunch Love Part III: Veggie-licious

Vegetables seem to be the most controversial part of meal time.  Kids especially have a reputation for wrinkling up their noses at veggies, though I seem to be encountering more adults who don't care for many types of them either.  When I taught Kindergarten and we had Shared Snack each day, I must admit that I was frustrated sometimes with the pursed lips of students I considered to be picky eaters who did not want to follow our 3-bite rule.  Since then, I have heard and read that children actually have more taste buds (they wear off over the years), and that it can take up to seven times for us to get accustomed to taste and texture of a new food.  (I don't have any sources to cite for you but I probably heard it on CBC!)  This makes sense; I wish I would have known that information during my K days.  When our own kids began eating solids, every time we presented a tiny spoon of pureed food, we would smile enthusiastically say, "Mmmmm....[food name]...yummy..."  I'm not sure if this aided in our children being open to trying nearly all foods or if we were just lucky! 

I think that vegetables are more likely to be chosen as a snack or take-for-lunch item when they are washed, trimmed, and cut into ready-to-eat pieces.  Most Saturdays when we do our weekly grocery run, I prepare the fruit and veggies and load them up into plastic containers.  This also helps me during the week when I'm cooking; having to clean celery, lettuce, or carrots can be a pain when you're in a hurry.

Colour and presentation are really important.  Although the following photos show veggies for a crowd, perhaps the beauty of the different hues and variety of the arrangements will inspire you and encourage your loved ones (and perhaps you!) to be a little more willing to try them.

Pick A Peck of Pretty Peppers...& Cruciferous Veggies...& Root Veggies...& Cucumbers...

Picking from a big selection can be fun and give your child some decision-making power.  I made this a few years ago, but the arrangement reminds me of the neat idea for toddler meals and snacks I saw on Pinterest this spring.  You take an ice cube tray and put tiny servings of different foods in them, allowing the child lots of choice.  You still control what the choices are, and the little one can graze on what s/he prefers on that day but is not expected to eat everything. 

Rainbow of Vegetables

It was my turn to take the veggie tray for church lunch and I had seen some rainbow-like arrangements via Google images.  Red onions aren't everyone's favorite but there aren't a lot of indigo and violet vegetables!  Raw red cabbage wouldn't cut it. (Please let me know if you have suggestions on fulfilling the representation of the whole spectrum!)

Veggie Christmas Tree
Having signed up to bring vegetables for the Miriam's class Christmas party, I got an idea to make a Christmas tree design on a new plastic tray I'd bought for putting goodies on.  One of my students had brought a veggie Christmas tree with the food affixed with toothpicks to a plastic-covered styrofoam cone.  I figured the tray would be a little different and Miriam helped to pick the tree "decorations" when we went to the grocery store.  I was very impressed by her idea to use bean sprouts for the tinsel!  I'd forgotten about our veggie version of cranberry & popcorn garland.  Memories... 


Skeleton o' Veggies

The last one was inspired by Tanya, my student's mom, who brought a vegetable skeleton for our Grade One Hallowe'en party.  Not only did she show how veggies could be arranged to make a picture, she introduced me to the joys of Press 'N Seal.  I love that stuff!   Anyway, I made the face from a ramekin filled with dip and that's red cabbage hair as suggested by the Kraft Canada website.  It has this skeleton and lots of other fun party food ideas; I linked the site to the Yummy Mummy Spinach Dip which I made for our youth camp Hallowe'en party last year.

School is back in but I'm making an effort to keep taking time to enjoy writing and creating a post per week.  Thanks to everyone who has mentioned that they like reading the blog; it makes my day. :-) 

Thanks for nibbling your way to my island.  See you again soon!



  1. thanks, Jennifer,
    I will provide my TOPS group with your address.

    One of our leaders, Aline Amyotte Martin, always reminds us that "Veggies are your friends". Best source of carbs to eat. Eat your carbs, don't drink them (vegetable and fruit juices go down too quickly to register that we really ingested part of our daily needs.


  2. I look forward to your posts also Jennifer


Drop me a line - comments, questions, and your own ideas are all very welcome! :-)