If you want your kids to eat meat, then you’d better give a little effort to make it look enticing.
This Christmas, my husband roasted the best tasting roast beef. I usually frantically try to plate my kids’ food for meals, not because I’m a control freak, but because observation has led me to see they don’t eat unsightly plated food as well as attractively plated food. So foods they might not eat so well, I work extra hard to make look tempting and plate for them. Sometimes presentation alone gets them to eat things they normally wouldn’t.
Well, I wasn’t the one to plate their food this time around. And that perfectly prepared, rare roast beast dribbled juicy, pink trickles linearly in each direction–and that “don’t fly” with most kids. That, to kids, is blood. I could have been reliving my childhood:
“Eat that meat.”
“What’s wrong with that meat?”
“There’s nothing wrong with that meat.”
“That’s expensive meat. Don’t you waste it.”
“Here, give me that meat.”
Oh, my dad would get so mad at me as I stared at my plate, pushing food around with my fork.
Meat is a valuable source of easily absorbable zinc, vitamin B 12, and iron. Certain kinds and cuts are rich in DHA and vitamin D3 and different amino acids. I’ve noticed among my four kids, one will eat meat like it’s candy. One will stare at it like it’s still alive on her plate and I’m making her eat it. The other two are kind of in the middle.
We are an omnivorous family, and to make life more simple, the kids need to eat what’s for supper. Sometimes it’s centered around meat. And sometimes it’s not. But I don’t like it to be wasted, particularly meat. It makes me super sad to waste meat.
Tips so kids don’t waste meat:
- Cut it into bite-sized pieces for them.
- Give them the most savory pieces.
- Serve them with flavorful, attractive drippings. (For example, when I roast a chicken, I drizzle a little of the drippings over their cut pieces, being careful to keep it right over the chicken itself.)
- Important: Sop up any unpleasant looking trickles, dribbles, or pools before giving them the plate, so you don’t have to answer the “Is that blood?” question.
- If you know they don’t like a particular meat, then don’t give them more than 3-5 average bite sized pieces.
- Get them to eat it while it’s still hot.
- Have them try it with a bite of something else that complements it.
- Sauces, sauces, sauces.
- Explain that meat has vitamin B 12, a nutrient that is very important for our brains and nerves to function. A nutrient difficult to get anywhere else.
I wish you the best in leading your kids toward eating real, whole foods. Some people feel best eating a meat-rich diet, while others can’t tolerate it. I see all sides from a scientific standpoint. You don’t need to defend your stance to me. But please try to eat real, whole food. Avoid chicken nuggets breaded with maltodextrin and milk protein and fried in vegetable oil. Avoid cold meat laden with potato starch. Try to steer towards unprocessed meats and include a broad range of cuts so your kids are getting the best array of amino acids. Don’t just eat the muscle meats.
And so important: Include an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables!
Let’s encourage our kids to eat real and try not to waste! So, what tips do you have that I left out?