I was just telling a group of parents about this pretty pink dip recipe (a.k.a. beet dip - shhhh, don't tell)...
It was at a local private school here in Austin where I was invited to speak about child nutrition and the million dollar question... how to get kids to eat healthy food without making yourself crazy.
It was such a compliment to be asked to join as the "expert" when most days I feel far from it.
I too am at the mercy of a couple of shifty toddlers who one day will eat three helpings of broccoli and the next push the same broccoli around the plate and proclaim, "I want you never make this again, mom.”
Sometimes I feel like we're playing out an episode of Chopped or Top Chef or any other cooking show where I present my creation. Only in this version the judges are a lot meaner and emotionally unstable.
And just like a contestant on one of these shows I take the harsh criticism, let it roll off my back, try again and believe that the next time will be different... that one day they're gonna eat it, and love it.
I try to bring that you-can't-squash-my-dreams optimism to the kitchen and dinner table.... or I don't know maybe I'm just insane... that is after all the literal definition.
Really though, does anyone get out of this toddler stage without a little crazy and insane?....
Any who..., lately as mine have gotten a bit older, I've been trying some different strategies to get them more involved in the process. I have them pick out new foods to try at the store, help me out with basic tasks like stirring eggs, and I try to talk to them more about why we eat the foods we do (ie. yellow foods help us to not get sick).
In fact, just this morning, one of them pulled out a bag of frozen blueberries out of the freezer (they've been really into eating them with a spoon for breakfast lately) and asked "do these make me grow, mommy."
I said, "yes! they do!"
And she goes "ok, I want some."
We've been playing with the Eat the Rainbow color chart/game I posted about last week. You can download and give it a try yourself here. So far it's working pretty well and it's gotten them eating a few new foods they otherwise might not have given a chance except this time they get to mark a box and potentially earn a "prize" if they do...
If You Can't Beet Em...
So in keeping with our color adventure theme we've got going on with the chart, here's a new color to add in... pink! In my moments of creativity I've come up with a few tricks and this recipe is one of them. It works for us for a few reasons...
#1: Dips are fun
A dip immediately turns a meal into so much more than just a meal - it becomes an activity. Have you ever noticed how much more a kid will eat if he/she can dip their food into something, like say ketchup. And then, how much ketchup they'll eat too?
#2: We all eat with our eyes
Pretty food and pretty plates are more fun and more satisfying to eat. We just call this pink dip because I figure no one really needs to know what it is, even though my kids do love beets now and will eat them (realizing I'm probably jinxing it by admitting this right now).
#3: Options = independence
The other great thing about a dip and veggies, kids can choose the veggies they want to eat and sort of serve themselves. Of course they'll still need someone to tell them the "no double dipping" rule...
A while back I did a post all about what makes beets the superfood they are, a few simple ways to prepare, what other foods they go well with, etc. Check it out here.
Pretty Pink Dip (a.k.a. Beet Dip)
- 1 can white beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or about 1.5 cups cooked)
- 1 medium-sized beet
- 2 tbsp tahini
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Trim and wash/scrub beet well.
- Wrap beet in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake 30-45 minutes until tender. When done, unwrap foil and let cool. Cut into quarters and peel the skin off the beet using a paring knife or the back of a spoon or fork (the skin should easily peel off when cooled).
- In a food processor, combine beans, beet, tahini, lemon juice, sea salt, garlic and EVOO. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and top with any extras to dress up or serve plain with favorite veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery, etc.), chips or pita.
- Spice it up (add a pinch of one or all): chipotle, cumin, coriander or chili powder
- Dress it up (add any of these on top): feta or goat cheese, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, parsley, basil, green onions, shallots
What'd You Think?
If you make this I'd love to know what you think... and if serving to little ones, what they think too. Come back and let us know in the comments, will you?
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.