As most parents know, getting your kids to eat their veggies can be a challenge. Greens on a plate can turn dinnertime into a not so pleasant experience - as parents beg and plead with their child to eat just a few bites.
Now, add in the holiday season, with all the extra goodies around the home, and well, parents can get downright crazy trying to make sure their child's daily diet isn't one massive sugar-fest.
Enter celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson, who has worked closely with First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move!' Campaign, to make nutritious foods more accessible to children everywhere. Marcus is now working on the 'Feed Kids Better' initiative from Birds Eye, which has teamed up with Share Our Strength's 'No Kid Hungry' campaign to help kids discover the wonder of vegetables. "We want people to eat vegetables because they want to...not because they have to!" states Marcus.
A simple trick for parents is to lead by example. "It's proven that if you eat your veggies, your kids will too. Serve them as snacks and in fun ways, like hummus dip while watching a movie on family night," suggests Marcus.
Another tip, don't try and hide veggies in your child's food, instead if you're child only likes one veggie, get creative and serve that one vegetable in as many ways as you can. "If your picky eater only likes corn, for example, put it on repeat! Try it a couple different ways; corn salsa, corn and black bean quesadillas or holiday-favorite corn casserole" are all fun examples.
Finally, Marcus suggests making veggies the star of a kid-friendly dinner classic. "Flipping the proportions to your favorite meals is a quick, easy way to incorporate more veggies into family meals." So, go 60% veggies and 40% pasta - like Marcus' take on Mac & Cheese.
Mac & Greens Recipe:
2 cups Birds Eye Pure & Simple Chopped Spinach, thawed
1 package orecchiette
1 stick butter
.5 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
.5 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
.25 pound Parmesan, grated
.25 pound Swiss cheese, shredded
.25 pound creme fraiche
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. yellow mustard powder
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
.5 cup panko
.5 cup toasted bread crumbs
.5 cup parsley
.25 cup basil leaves
.25 cup grated Parmesan
.5 tsp. salt
.5 tsp. pepper
Pre-heat oven to broiler setting at 375 F. Cook the orecchiette. Drain and set aside. Melt the butter in a stock pot, and saute shallots until caramelized then stir in flour. Add garlic, heavy cream and milk and stir until flour is dissolved, with no lumps. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, then add all cheeses, including creme fraiche. Whisk until cheese mixed in. Then, mix in nutmeg, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Toss pasta together with sauce and spinach and transfer to baking dish.
In a food processor, blend panko, bread crumbs, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt and pepper until fine. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping over the pasta and place in oven. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes, until golden brown.
To check out more on Marcus and help donate vegetables for up to one million meals to benefit the 'Feed Kids Better' initiative, go to www.facebook.com/birdseyevegetables
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