Carrot and Cucumber Christmas Trees to help children eat their veggies

How do you get children to eat their veggies?

As the mother of two elementary school children, and a Registered Dietitian, I am both baffled and mortified that both my children will not (knowingly) eat their veggies.  Yes, I am known to puree spinach and add it to lasagne or hide cauliflower in mashed potatoes. “Whatever it takes”, I say.  The spinach salad still goes on the table, and as I take a big delicious bite, I rave about how great it tastes, in hopes that one day they will say “Can I have some too please, Mom”.  I am still waiting.

So, what do you need for children to eat their veggies?  Patience!  Research has shown that it may take introducing the same vegetable up to 10 different times (or more) before a child will even try it.  Parents/caregivers are amazing role models, and if you eat your veggies your children will likely eat them too.  Introduce veggies with other foods your children are already familiar with in order to increase your success.  Having children help prepare veggies for snacks and meals will also increase the chances that they will eat veggies (see previous blog “Kids and the Kitchen”).  Last week, as I was preparing a beef pie, I had my daughter cut zucchini and shred carrot.  She then wrapped it in phyllo pastry I had left-over, and I baked it in the oven.  To my very pleasant surprise, my little chef ate her creation and liked it. There is hope!  No, she did not like my beef pie.

I hope your little chef will be inspired to eat veggies with this Easy Cucumber Christmas Tree recipe.

Easy Cucumber Christmas Tree

Ingredients (makes 8): 

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 whole cucumber

Method: 

Peel the carrot, discarding the top and bottom.

From the thicker end of the carrot, cut 8 rounds, around 1/2 cm thick.

Using a mini star-shaped cutter, cut a star from each piece of carrot.

Divide and cut the remaining piece of carrot into 8 pieces, which will form the trunks of your cucumber trees.

Set the carrot stars and pieces to one side.

Using a vegetable peeler, cut long strips from the cucumber, the whole length long.

Starting at the smallest end, carefully fold a strip of cucumber back and forth, starting with small folds and getting gradually bigger with each one, until you have created a tree shape.

Push the folds together and push a cocktail stick through to skewer them from top to bottom.

Slide the cocktail stick into one of the carrot pieces, big fold side down.

Stick a carrot star onto the other end of the cocktail stick.

Carefully separate the folds a little so that the cucumber fills the space between the two carrot pieces.

Stand your edible Christmas tree on a plate or serving tray and repeat until you have made as many cucumber trees as you need.

Serve immediately.

This recipe has been sourced from Eats Amazing: Fun food for kids.  For more fun recipe ideas visit  www.eatsamazing.co.uk.

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