We were leaving the cottage after an extended stay and therefore our fridge was becoming very empty. We had lots of bits and pieces left. I find the best thing to make for adults and kids when you need to clear out the fridge and use up a medley of vegetables, is a stir-fry. And the bonus of a stir-fry is the array of vegetables your wee one will eat in one meal. Olivia loves a delicious stir-fry and Charles can have the stir-fry mushed up. But…before I go on about the “How-to’s” for a toddler stir-fry. I have been asked a similar question over and over again that I want to answer. I am asked “How do you get Olivia to eat so healthy?” I know that other moms say that their toddlers will only eat goldfish for snacks and hate their vegetables. I think my answer is fairly straightforward. I started feeding her the way I wanted her to eat from the get go. I never offered her goldfish or cake or cookies or chicken fingers. She essentially never knew about any snacks other than cucumbers, carrots and hummus. It’s really tricky. I always had to be organized and ready with cut up cucumbers in my purse. Easier said than done. But I really made an effort to make sure those were the only snacks on offer. No muffins. No cookies. And because it was all she knew, she was more then happy to gobble down whatever I gave her. I was pretty strict about no sugar and wheat before 2 years old. I took a LOT of flack from my family and friends about being so strict, but I really wanted her to develop a palette that would like healthy food. And I think the hard work has paid off…so far. I obviously have had a trickier time as of late keeping away bread and cookies. But I try to make sugar-free cookies – which she loves – and not have bread in the house. So when we go out to friends houses or out to a meal, she is allowed to have bread and cookies as it is a once or twice a week treat. I’m sure it will get harder and harder to keep Olivia on the healthy eating train – she will learn more about ice cream and cupcakes as she gets older. But hopefully I have set a base in her system for a love of good nutritious food. So the moral of the story is: start young. It is hard to switch a 3 year-old from muffin snacks to carrots snacks. Give your baby flax and chia and kefir from and hopefully it will turn them into healthy vegetable-gobbling toddlers! Now on to the stir-fry! This stir-fry is based on what I had in my fridge but you can add in all sorts of vegetables. I find that with toddlers, the trick to get them to eat all their vegetables and not start picking bits out is to chop everything up super small. That way it all looks pretty similar and they are not intimidated by large scary veggies! Today I chopped up:
Yellow Beans Green Pepper Carrots Onion Yellow Zucchini Sweet Potato Garlic Kale **seems like a lot of chopping but it only should take around 10 minutes. I also put in a handful of: Spring Peas.
If I had it in the fridge I would have added in: Ginger and Cilantro! Other needed ingredients: Diced up chicken breast 2 Tablespoons of Bragg 1 quarter of lemon Take your pan and warm up on low. Add a tablespoon of Coconut Oil. A note on Coconut Oil: I generally cook for the kids with coconut oil. (I also try to sneak it in to our adult meals – as long as my husband won’t be able to taste the coconut flavour too much). When Olivia was young (and now with Charles), I fed her a spoonful of coconut oil whenever I could remember. Coconut oil helps big and small bodies create resistance to viruses and bad bacteria. (Among a long list of other benefits coconut oil has on our bodies). Although coconut oil has a higher saturated fat content then butter, it is considered to be a good saturated fat and one that our body easily metabolizes. Therefore, it can burn at a faster rate then a saturated fat found in butter and meat, making it less likely to be stored in our bodies as fat. Essentially, coconut oil is considered to be a good fat that does not clog our bodies. It gives us energy and nutrients for the day that can be easily burned off. There are many online resources and books about coconut oil so that you can read up on this good healthy fat. Back to the stir-fry: Once coconut oil has melted into liquid in the pan and heated up a tad, add in your onions and garlic and let sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the diced up raw chicken breast to your pan. Add in 1 or 2 tablespoons of liquid Bragg (a better alternative to Soy Sauce) and squeeze in the juice of a quarter lemon. Let the chicken cook thru. Once the chicken is cooked, add in all your diced up vegetables
For the kids, I like to add in a couple of tablespoons of water and put the lid on. That way the vegetables are also steaming so they get a little bit softer (Olivia likes her vegetables less crunchy). Cook until your desired consistency. I make pretty soft for the kids. But when I take the vegetables that I put aside for the adult meal later, I cook the vegetables only slightly so that they are nice and crunchy. I think the key to a good stir-fry (for adults) is to have the vegetables crunchy. Too soft and you feel like you are eating much. I will graduate Olivia to liking her vegetables more crunchy!