If there’s one thing that I love, it’s trying new foods, and I’m always down to try the weirdest thing on any menu. Sautéed octopus tentacles sprinkled with spicy chiles? Sure! How about some deep fried grasshoppers dipped in tangy sauce? Yum! Since I’ve always been an adventurous eater, I assumed that when I became a mom I wouldn’t struggle with how to get my kid to eat vegetables. I sauntered into solid foods from formula with confidence.
But of course, that’s not how it worked out — especially when it came to healthy foods. I started out making my own purees and nutritious recipes, but my son rebelled big time. I ended up resorting to whatever he’d eat (like string cheese or a ton of sugary fruits) just to get him to eat something. Since I was worrying about setting up picky eating habits that would prevent him from enjoying different food in the future, I had to get creative.
Once I started adding little tricks to my cooking repertoire, it was easier than I thought to introduce veggies into my kid's diet that weren’t raw (too difficult for him to chew) or hard on his tummy. Plus, I was able to create some awesomely yummy dishes that he didn’t even realize were chock full of nutrients! Best of all? Once I gave myself permission to skip constantly making food from scratch and embraced store-bought versions (like ready-made dips and pre-cut carrots), I had more time and energy to focus on my son’s development in different ways.
Now that it’s summertime, I’m focusing on how to introduce summer vegetables to my kid, and I'm looking toward an entirely new set of little tricks to help him fall in love with summer produce — like adding the familiar taste of Simply HEINZ Ketchup, which is made from only seven simple ingredients and is just as delicious as classic HEINZ Ketchup. To kick off the season, Romper and Simply HEINZ Ketchup have partnered up to offer tips and favorite dishes that keep my son happy and healthy (without him even knowing it):
Turn Zucchini Into A Familiar Fave
Zucchini is so versatile. You can make zoodles, sauté them with a little salt and pepper, or bake them in practically anything, like breakfast zucchini muffins. Another tried and true staple? Breaded zucchini fries. I serve them up with a side of Simply HEINZ Ketchup — and since it's made with real, simple ingredients, it's a choice I can feel good about giving my whole family.
Make Corn On The Cob The Star Of The Barbecue
I don’t think there’s a more quintessential summer food than corn on the cob, but let’s face it —if there’s not a ton of butter and salt on it, it can be a hard sell for kids. That’s why I make a DIY corn bar for every backyard barbecue we throw. I get a bunch of little bowls and fill each one with different toppings like parmesan cheese, cracked pepper, seasoning, and even condiments like mustard. My son gets to choose whatever he feels like, and it motivates him to make a totally unique creation!
Layer Bell Peppers Into Fast And Fun Skewers
My son loves to deconstruct food, so making these veggie skewers with fresh produce and throwing them on the grill during our cookouts is a guaranteed win. I make mine with fresh produce by alternating things like mushrooms, onions, and multicolored bell peppers. Serve them up with a side of Simply HEINZ Ketchup for dipping (a tried-and-true method for getting kids to try new veggies) and you're good to go!
Use Avocados To Make An Irresistible Pasta Sauce
Avocados aren’t just one of the most delicious and nutritious summer veggies around, they’re also the perfect food for kids — especially when they’re just learning how to eat solids. But for some reason my California born-and-raised son can’t stand them! Luckily, I’ve been able to sneak them into his diet by making a quick avocado pesto and stirring it into some pasta. Not only does he love noodles, he also loves the bright green sauce and practically shovels it in.
Create A Fresh And Delicious Cucumber Dip
Cucumbers are great for kids because they have such a mild, fresh flavor. You can work them into almost anything, and nutritionally they're a great way to regulate digestion. I love making homemade tzatziki and letting my son dip pita into it. It’s fun and interactive to him without getting wildly messy.
Transform Eggplant Into Pizza Crust
When I want to make one hundred percent sure my son is going to eat, I make pizza. Not just any pizza though — eggplant pizza! I use eggplant slices instead of dough and melt the toppings on the individual round slices. This personal pizza makes mealtime easy and healthy — aka the perfect mom win.
Combine Tomatoes With Other Fresh Summer Produce
Okay, so technically tomato is a fruit, but there's no arguing that nothing tastes as good in summertime as a fresh, plump tomato. Convincing a child that this is true is a whole different ball game, and since my son was no exception, I served him chips and a homemade salsa that is chock full of fresh summer vegetables. My concoction was a hit, and now I can hardly get him to stop eating it!
This post is sponsored by Simply HEINZ Ketchup.