In The 7 Secrets of Raising Happy Eaters, Karen Le Billon shares her method for turning picky eaters into healthy, happy eaters. Do you think children can’t be taught to be healthy, unfussy eaters? Then read on . . .
Last time, we looked at Karen’s taste-training games and how they accustom children to new foods. The easy, delicious recipes featured in the book build upon this strategy to enable you to teach your child to enjoy eating a range of fruits and vegetables. They follow a simple “laddering” approach, organised by age, that gradually introduces more complex tastes and textures as your child grows older. Three or four different recipes are provided for each specific fruit or vegetable, to correspond to the following different age groups:
- Babies learning to eat solids (9 to 12 months)
- Older babies comfortable chewing soft foods (12 to 36 months)
- Toddlers (36 months to 5 years)
- School-age kids (6 years and up)
By the time your child is ready for school, they should be ready to eat like a grown-up! If you have older children, don’t worry: you can start them on any rung of the ladder at any time. Even the baby recipes—many of which are simple soups—are designed to be eaten and enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages. So no short-order cooking! Take the recipe selection for green beans, for example. It includes Green Machine Purée, Nifty Niçoise Soup, Green Beans Amandine and Salad Niçoise – healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by all ages. Below you will find the recipe for Green Machine Purée – to whet your appetite and tempt you to get cooking with your children.
Green Machine Purée
Special equipment: steamer insert; blender or food processor
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 8 minutes
Servings: makes about 360ml
Have you ever tasted shop-bought baby “green bean purée”? It’s bland, stodgy, and extremely boring. That’s too bad, because green beans are actually quite tasty and packed full of nutrients. With a low allergenic risk, they’re often introduced to babies early on. If my first impression of a green bean was the jarred purée . . . well, yuck! This recipe introduces kids and babies to a great-tasting version of a great-for-you food.
- 720ml water or ready-to-use low-sodium vegetable stock
- 100g chopped green beans
- 1 small courgette, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 small clove garlic, optional
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or parsley
Bring the water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the beans, courgette, and garlic, if using, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the basil or parsley, and simmer for 1 minute. Strain the vegetables, reserving the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the garlic. Return the vegetables to the pan with 240ml of the cooking liquid. Using a blender or food processor, purée the vegetables, adding enough cooking liquid to reach desired consistency.