I recently read an article about a new fad celebrity diet that consisted of basically eating nothing but baby food. In conversation with my co-workers, I began to divulge that while I am not believer in an adult person living solely off of baby food, I am a believer in the added benefits of using purees in your cooking. I was shocked to learn that many of my co-workers kids don't eat any fruits or veggies, or very minimal amounts at that. The excuse, "They refuse to eat them and I can't make them." It wasn't a big shocker to find out that most of them didn't eat them either. Impossible challenge? I beg to differ.
During my pregnancy with my daughter I could barely eat. Not only did I have nausea 24/7, but the thought of 90% of foods disgusted me. Things I once loved were horrid. The worst of it all was I could not stomach a single vegetable. I started to loose weight, and my doctor made it very clear that she was not happy about that at all. So, I sought out some solutions. Milkshakes just weren't cutting it for me. Although very tasty, I didn't feel that it was enough nutrition for me and my growing baby. So I went out and bought a popular book for kids cooking that incorporates purees. I tried various recipes in the book and created variations of them to better suit my taste. It worked! I was able to incorporate over 5 servings of veggies into my meals daily and ate things that I enjoyed like banana bread, fruit smoothies, baked potatoes, pasta, etc.
Now that my daughter is going into the toddler stage I dusted off my old cookbook and am putting it to good use once again. My daughter loves starchy food, I mean who doesn't. I am able to incorporate a lot of various fruits and veggies into her daily meals without hassle. I always include a visible side of veggies or fruit to slowly encourage her to eat them without pressure, and surprisingly she has started to take a few bites of those as well. Just the other day she inhaled a small baked potato, with pureed cauliflower, ground flax seed, and a small dollop of smart balance butter. She followed that with mini berry smoothie that I blended with a handful of fresh spinach. She wasn't the wiser. The fruit out powers the spinach and you can't taste it at all. I have also taken these ideas and incorporated them into our family dinners. The goal is to incorporate at least one veggie into every single meal, and 2-3 fruits throughout the day.
There is some pre-planning involved, yes, but it's not that difficult. I put aside an hour in the evening, once a week, to steam up a few selected veggies for pureeing. I use a magic bullet blender, and store the purees in one cup and 1/2 cup servings in the freezer in small freezer bags. I just pull one out when I need it and it only takes a minute to thaw in warm water. The trick is to select veggies that blend well with the meal that you are making. I personally don't recommend using broccoli in any dish that is not overpowered with flavor and seasoning. Broccoli is the one puree that I've found to have an overwhelming flavor, so I usually mix it with another. You can even incorporate these purees in place of water in many recipes. Another added bonus is it cuts back on food expenses. Often times you can buy a fresh bushel of cauliflower for cheap, a lot cheaper than frozen in most places, and with the purees it doesn't go bad because you don't eat it in two days. This is also a good opportunity to incorporate seasonal organic veggies and fruits. If you buy what's in season, the cost is much cheaper.
We all feel the benefits of these added nutrients and it is a huge help in my health transition. So even if your not a believer, just try it, and you will see even the pickiest kids, and adults alike, can be tricked!