Guest blogger Kristyn Hall joins us again to tell us about her experience feeding kids on vacation and a great recipe that will have your kids asking for avocados.
How can you get your child to enjoy good-for-you green food? Offer it to them when they are hungry! Let me explain. Recently, our family went on vacation in Mexico to our first all-inclusive resort. We really enjoyed the simplicity of this vacation: arrive, find your room, put on your bathing suit, and go!
When you are ready to eat, simply find a plate and build a meal from the vast array of food choices. While the resort had all the typical kid’s menu-type choices (pizza, hamburger, French fries, hot dogs, white pasta), they also offered an array of freshly prepared meals: chicken, roast beef, duck, fish, tacos, quesadillas, fresh vegetables, cooked vegetables, salads, fresh fruit, and so much more! We were all on vacation – but I refused to have my boys build themselves unbalanced meals filled with blandly coloured foods. There was too much good food there for the kids to default to the “kid’s menu” choices.
The variety of foods available at the buffet provided my kids with two opportunities:
- A risk-free way of trying new foods. After all, the food was already paid for. They could take a small portion and if they liked it, they could get more. If the food wasn’t to their liking, they could still find something else to fill their bellies.
- An opportunity to have more independence with their food choices.
I have written before about the challenges I have had in feeding my boys. My boys are now 7 and 9 years old – they are getting older and need practice in making food choices in a buffet kind of food environment. We had the kids build their own plates with food choices that appealed to them. Our guidelines were that whatever foods they chose, they needed to make to include a carbohydrate for energy (eating carbohydrate-rich foods is not usually a challenge for them), a vegetable and fruit, and a protein-rich food choice to help their energy last longer. This approach to food worked really well for all of us.
It was interesting to see the kinds of foods they would pick (my 9 year old tried duck and liked it). I was especially proud to watch my boys enthusiastically “present” their plates to us and be able to explain how the foods they chose fit into the guidelines we had set out. Just in case you are wondering, my kids also enjoyed from the dessert bar: slushie drinks, coconut ice cream, cake, cookies. I didn’t worry about this. I saw that their bodies were being nourished with nutrient-rich foods. I saw how unbelievably active they were. And, they are really mindful eaters and are able to leave unfinished foods on their plates.
He tried guacamole!
My one child has a grazing preference for his eating pattern so I was curious about how he would do with a more set schedule for meals. While food was available in between meals, we weren’t always close to a place where we could easily access the food (too busy playing in the water or being on the beach).
Kermit the frog said it best – it is not easy being green. However, when kids (and adults) have been out playing all day and they arrive at a snack hungry, you’ve created optimal conditions for acceptance of a new food. My oldest son got a plate of the resort’s homemade guacamole and tortilla chips and discovered that guacamole is indeed tasty! I had a chance to watch the chefs make the guacamole onsite using only a few ingredients with minimal equipment required.
Guacamole is wonderfully simple to make with many variations of ingredients, spices and peppers. For this version, I skipped the Serrano pepper that the chef added to his guacamole. Here is a variation we created when we got home.
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