rown-ups know that vegetables are one of the most
important parts of a diet as they are rich with miner-
als and vitamins. These nature-made leaves, roots,
and stalks are vital to the body’s health. However,
it is not that easy to explain this logic to children. When parents
mention eating greens, the little ones’ faces turn a matching green
color with queasiness. Many kids try to avoid veggies at all costs
and miss out on the beneficial nutrients that are packed inside.
This rough start in childhood does not have to transition into a
lifetime of anti-vegetables. The key is to incorporate a love for
them early on and many times it can be as easy as making them
just look and taste more appealing. There are many great ways
to present and serve veggies to even the toughest little critics as
’s avid readers have so graciously shared.
First-time mom Sofia Alam of Elmhurst, Illinois, makes sure her
1-year-old son Dawud enjoys vegetables right from the start.
She purees many of his meals at home which mainly consist of
wholesome vegetables. Baby Dawud’s first solid foods included
zucchini and squash, which is known to be a super-food con-
taining antioxidant and antibacterial chemicals which prevent
damage to the skin, joints, brain, and heart. He is also a huge
fan of avocado, but that happens to fall under the fruit category.
“Zucchini, squash, and avocado are great first foods for your
little baby,” says Alam who is a certified teacher by profession.
“They are filled with vitamins and good fats that are highly
nutritious for the youngest to the oldest family member. Before
he tasted the flavors of real vegetables, I introduced Dawud to
the bland, buttery taste of a ripe avocado,” she says.
Alam simply mashed and spoon-fed avocado to him when he was
six months old. It was love at first spoon. Gradually from there,
she transitioned his taste buds into enjoying vegetables as well.
“I want to make sure he grows up making the right choices
when it comes to his diet,” shares Alam. “God has blessed us
with an endless array of delicious foods, and Dawud will be
exposed to them as early as possible. We as a family try to avoid
foods with refined sugars or that are processed, especially in our
home. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is our motto for staying away
from junk foods. The best way to teach is by example, and we
parents need to show our kids how to appreciate and enjoy the
natural foods God intended for us to eat,” she says.
Asra Farooq Rahman, a literary specialist from Chapel Hill,
North Carolina, has a very similar stance when it comes to feed-
ing her two little toddlers. She believes it is all about providing
healthy options in and out of the home for her son Zaki, 4, and
daughter Noor, 2.
“The adults do the grocery shopping and cooking, so it is our
responsibility to make healthy choices for our children,” says
Rahman. “If you bring junk food or unhealthy
foods in the house, it will undoubtedly get
consumed. Therefore, we make sure it
does not even come in our home but lots
of yummy fruits and vegetables do.”
Zaki’s school makes it mandatory for
students’ lunches to have at least two
dairy products, two kinds of fruits or
vegetables, as well as grains. A sample
of his school lunch may be milk, spinach and
cheese quesadilla, string cheese, strawberries, and
raisins. His snacks may consist of yogurt, grapes, crackers, and
pretzels. Rahman keeps the portions small yet options plentiful.
Servings: 2-3 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes
4 green apples
2 cups fresh cilantro with stems
Juice all the ingredients in juicer. Pour into glasses