One of my main goals this year was to find a way to consume more vegetables during snacks, instead of consuming way too many granola bars. So I came across this recipe from by Gina over at Skinnytaste! They’re a really tasty way and simple way to eat vegetables but also, for all you parents out there, a way to get your kids to eat vegetables!
So why do I have a special interest in what kids eat? Well, because I’ve decided to specialize in pediatrics! And if you’ve ever been to a pediatrician’s office, you know that we like to ask lots of questions about what your kid is eating. Because that’s a very big influence on their health! Not only do kids need appropriate nutrition to grow but it’s also important to consider that the habits they build early in life are often the ones they carry into the future.
So I want to talk to you about a study by Kral et al* that looked at how consumption of fruits and vegetables increases with portion size. In this study, the investigators studied 43 boys and girls for two weeks (I know, it’s a short study period but the results are still worth discussing) between ages 5 and 6. On the first day of the study, the children received a meal of pasta with tomato sauce with a side of broccoli, carrots, unsweetened applesauce, and milk. On the second day, they received the same meal, except the pasta portion stayed the same size while the fruits and veggies were doubled. The study found that in doing this, the kids a significantly more fruits and veggies and less pasta when compared to the first meal.
Of course, they mostly did this by eating the applesauce; there was no significant increase in the amount of carrots/broccoli that was consumed. I get it…applesauce is sweet and probably tastier. But I would like to point out that 75% of the kids gave broccoli a “yummy” rating, too. So maybe there’s still hope!
For example, what if they used this broccoli tots recipe? I have a feeling that broccoli shaped into nuggets may be more appealing to kids than eating broccoli florets. Now that I have a hypothesis, I just need to design and carry out the experiment. In the meantime, try out the recipe on yourselves/your kids and let me know how it works for you!
- 12 oz broccoli florets
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
- 2/3 cup cheddar jack cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli florets and blanch for 1 minute.
- Rinse the florets in cold water, drain, and dry.
- Finely chop the broccoli and set in a medium bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients to the broccoli and mix.
- Spoon the mixture into your hands and roll into small logs.
- Place the tots on a silicon baking sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes, turning the tots over halfway through. Remove from the oven when slightly golden.
*Kral, T. et al (2010). Effect of doubling the portion size of fruits and vegetable side dishes on children’s intake at meals. Obesity, 18, 521-527. Retrieved June 19, 2016.