The Vegetable Smuggler

Me. I am the vegetable smuggler. Like every mom.

Like most kids, my daughter has a sharp eye for vegetables in her food only to keep them aside. She makes her preference very clear. “I want chicken.” And then all eyes turn towards me with a smile. “Your daughter after all.” I have the guilty-but-happy smile.

Laughs aside, I’m not happy that her preference for vegetables is nearing extinction. We all know the nutrition facts about vegetables. But you can’t force a 3-year old to eat something she doesn’t like – it just gets ugly. So, I smuggle it down her system.

While I continue discovering different ways of doing that, I have figured mashed, pureed, curries, and soups are the best way. She likes it but there are some days when she doesn’t. I used to live in the happy bubble that it is how I cook that retains her interest in vegetarian food. Nope. Her moods, sudden change of preferences, hunger levels – all influence her decision. Fortunately, she’s not a fussy eater.

I’ve been successful with a few dishes – Pav Bhaji, BissiBeleBath, Spinach and Potato Chowder, Corn and Cheese Chowder, Dal, Rice, all kind of soups, Wheat Pasta with pureed vegetables (bell pepper, carrots, and tomatoes), Vegetable Korma, Masala Dosa, and so on. She has recently started dodging eggs and milk, so I tried French Toast (with wheat bread) and Pancakes. She loves them. I omit sugar and serve with honey instead, which is any day a healthier option. That did the trick. Milk isn’t a challenge anymore thanks to badam milk and milk with different flavors of granola.

Most days are happy. She does enjoy her vegetarian meal if it is ‘rightly’ made although it doesn’t give her the chance to recognize the vegetables she likes. But if she does, the vegetables will be discriminated on her plate.