London Japan Kitchen Bob


It is a parent's endless battle when their child won't eat vegetables. The battle of persistance ends with them taking a bite of broccoli, and eating plain bread. Even though they claim they are full, the next moment they are hunting for any chocolates and sweets on the adult restricted shelves!

While it's difficult to make kids enjoy bitter foods, some of their taste palettes are purely psycological. A Middle Eastern kid will eat red peppers as snacks, and WWII children were rationed raw carrot on a stick. You can also see this effect in the regional differences of the movie “Inside Out”, where the food toddler Riley rejects is different depending on the audience. Western audience get a broccoli, but the Japanese get green bell peppers as broccoli isn't considered a hated vegetable.

Why do kids reject vegetables?

Part of this is simply an evolutionary trait of innate aversion to new tastes, which can be overcome by gradually introducing small amounts of the vegetable until their taste buds adapt.

Then there's vegetables that may have unpleasant flavors or textures that children find unappealing, such as corriander or overcooked vegetables. Overcooking a vegetable to mush takes away much of the texture and flavour that they could've enjoyed.

Finally, eating habits can influence a child's willingness to try vegetables, so it's important to find what works for your child. Offering dessert as a reward for eating vegetables could train them to believe vegetables are chores or punishments. But it can be challenging to convince children to eat something without much sugar, carbs, or fat.

Here are some tips and tricks that may help a child eat their vegetables.

Psycological Encouragement

  • Calling broccolis baby tree or dinosaur food, cut carrots as baby carrots.
  • Using lettus to let the kids wrap meat like Korean BBQ. Who doesn't love playing with their foods?
  • Nuts – Make a pretend game where the kids act as birds and eat nuts.
  • Lunches are not packed with crisps, but fruits, carrot sticks and bell peppers. Avoid enforcing the idea that a processed snack comes with every meal.
  • Bring out the vegetables on the table before the main meal is served, and permit them to eat first. If they are hungry, they will eat out of boredom.

Simple Recipes

  • Garlic fried broccoli – Boil the broccoli for 1 min, then fry it in a pan drizzled with garlic and oil. flavour with salt.
  • Butter fried mushrooms – Just as it says. Sprinkling some vegetable stock can also enhance flavour. Use salt or soy sauce to taste.
  • Oven cooked carrots and parsnips – Marinate with oil, sugar, and salt before sticking it in the oven.
  • Quick boiled vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, fine beans cooked for 1.5mins or less. Salt the water if you want to keep your greens green.
  • Cauliflower with white sauce – mix 1:1 flour and butter in a pan, and slowly add milk to a sauce thickness you like. Add chicken stock to make it irresistable.

I believe if plain vegetable isn't convincing enough, adding sugar, carbs, or fat is the key to introducing the novel ingredient.

Other behavioural training

  • Don't give them separate meals from the adults.
  • Avoid desserts after meals. One family has even gone as far as allowing the kid to choose what to eat first, as long as they eat everything
  • Prepare vegetable sticks and nuts if they get hungry at an odd time. Avoid processed snacks
  • Let kids choose their food portion. Forcing kids to eat a certain amount can make meals a pyschological punishment.
  • Let them drink water, flavoured water, or tea instead of juice with a meal or any outdoor activity. Drinking sweet drinks is a learnt behaviour.

There are many ways to skin a cat, and these are just a few examples based on personal experience. Have you found something that works for you?

#Diet #Parenting #HealthyEating #Children #Vegetarian

One time, we were selling biscuits, and a customer asked,

“Which one is healthier? The chocolate flavoured one or the Matcha flavoured one? Matchs is healthy for you right?”

After a moment of thought, I responded,

“Matcha is healthy, but they both contain sugar. I don't think either of them has any good health benefits.”

The answer was obvious. I was watching the kitchen cook making biscuits right in front of me, and I see them pouring sugar into the batter like it's nobody's business. And then, they try to sprinkle some matcha powder on top, as if that's going to cancel out all the sugar in there!

Later, I realized that I'm guilty of the same thing. I'm all about sugary drinks, so I choose orange juice over cola, thinking I'm making the healthier choice. And I eat a salad after chowing down on some greasy fried chicken, as if some greens are going to magically erase all that oil.

But guess what? Our bodies are smart, they know what's up. No matter how many nutrients and fibers you sprinkle on top, your body still has to work through all that sugar and oil. And that is why we're better off not putting the bad stuff in our bodies in the first place.

You may have heard of this detox food philosophy that says it balances out the bad stuff in our bodies like yin and yang. But from the stomach's perspective, it doesn't matter what came first, it still has to work through all that vegetable oil that our ancestors never even knew about. So, let's just not put it in our bodies in the first place.

Furthermore, if you're having trouble digesting certain foods, it's not just in your head. You might have a food intolerance that's making your stomach work overtime. Take my friend, for instance, who didn't even realize that rice was the source of her exhaustion until she went on a two-week elimination diet. After a week of avoiding rice, she felt like a brand new person!

Next time, let's try improving our diet by find the offending foods that might be overworking our stomachs, leading to inflammation or gas.

#Detox #Diet #EliminationDiet