My mom makes my kids “meals” when we visit. My eldest thinks these are the best! “No one makes meals like Granny,” she says.
This magical meal is a relish plate, and my mom keeps it out from morning until night. The next day, she makes another one. Usually, it consists of olives (black and green,) pickles, berries and raw veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cherry tomatoes, etc.)
While, this is a special thing, it is also a great way to expose children to veggies.
If you want to make one, your local farmer’s market or grocery store is a great place to start. You can even let your kids can pick out what veggies they want to try. If you plan ahead, your kids can make their own version of a shopping list, so they are excited about shopping and finding the items. My two-year old likes to grab her veggie of choice from the produce department (of the grocery store) and take a bite out of it. I don’t recommend teaching this to your little one, but it is effective. (I end up having to buy whatever she deems edible at the time. You’d think by now, I’d know to pick her up BEFORE we get to that section of the store, but I secretly love that she enjoys the supermarket buffet.)
There is also a service called Bountiful Baskets (not-for-profit food co-op,) but it does not appear to be available for Nueces county right now. It is neat, though. You pay ahead of time and then show up to a site to pick up your basket of in season fruit and veggies. Hopefully, that will begin again this summer. We did it once and ended up with plantains in our basket. It was so fun to open it up and see the variety of new and yummy produce.
If you want to take it a step further, Pinterest is full of cute flowers and animal shapes to make out of vegetables and fruit. Personally, I do not need that kind of pressure. Broccoli is a tree! Thanks Nature! No need to re-shape what is already great! Carrots are easily made into sticks. There ya go, trees and sticks. Next, put some olives on your fingers, Voila!
Also, there is no amount of mom guilt that could convince me to do this with veggies for my kids. I’m sure I could attempt it, but I don’t want to AT ALL. No amount of guilt could assuage the level of frustration I would feel as I attempted to make a strawberry into a bear. Seriously, it is all adorable, but it makes me feel so anxious that my bones itch. For now, I’ll just live in secret fear that my kids will see it and ask me to make them a cauliflower poodle.