My food-allergic son can be a picky eater, especially when it comes to vegetables. For his older brother, I would serve broccoli with cheese or make homemade pizza and frittata full of vegetables. However, these aren’t options for his younger brother. We tried fake cheese in the United States once and hated it, but I need to give it another shot. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any fake cheese options here in Switzerland yet (there’s a dairy-free cheese, but it contains nut butter), but I have the next best thing – BBQ sauce!
Please note: I haven’t been slathering all of my son’s vegetables in BBQ sauce. It started the other night when I ended up mixing his chicken, roast potatoes and steamed broccoli with a little BBQ sauce. He ate it up, including the veggies, which he normally avoids or throws on the floor. Only problem is that this special sauce—the same brand I sometimes purchased in the United States—now costs 10 dollars (which I noticed after I looked at the receipt). Groceries in Switzerland are expensive!
Beyond BBQ sauce, I’ve used a few other allergy-friendly ingredients to make vegetables more exciting, such as bacon and coconut milk. Like today, I made fried rice with Swiss chard, corn and bacon. On the side, I served roasted beets—one of several sweet-tasting vegetables my son eats without any extra effort. Others in this category include carrots, sweet potatoes and squash.
I just saw a great article, thanks to Fearless Feeding, with tips for parents like us who sometimes struggle getting their kids to eat vegetables. “Rethinking the Kid-Veggie Relationship” describes a common sense approach to encouraging your kids (e.g., keep trying and set a good example, among others). It was the pep talk I needed and just at the right time. As I mentioned before, our farmers’ market near our new apartment has lots of fresh, local produce. I’ll be visiting it often in order to try out some of the author’s recommendations.
If you have suggestions for other allergy-friendly ingredients that encourage food-allergic kids to eat their vegetables, please leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!