By Nathan Chambers, ASU Nutrition Student
“Time for bed, please brush your teeth,” her mother will call from our bedroom down the hall.
A brief hesitation and then, “It’s only 8:48. Yesterday you didn’t ask me to brush my teeth until 8:55, so I still have….” Another momentary hesitation where, in my mind, I can see her using her fingers to count. “Seven minutes!” She says. Though, by the time she has figured this out her time has dropped to six minutes.
At this point I am regretting the recent wristwatch purchase.
My precocious eight-year-old is testing her independence… and our sanity. An issue that always comes up is acceptable foods. One day goulash is her favorite food, the next she hates it and always has.
“You ate goulash two weeks ago, and you loved it!” I will say, “Just eat your mother’s goulash please.”
“Well, I don’t like it anymore. It tastes different this time.”
Ah. Well, there’s the problem. It tastes different this time. Why didn’t I think of that?!
Finding What Works
It difficult to find a recipe that works for everyone. Mom and Dad want it to be healthy (and preferably easy to make) and Daughter wants it to taste good.
Now, her mother and I do not eat a lot of meat… we often will have things like bean salads or rice and beans as a protein food staple. One of my personal favorites is hummus. But how to get her to eat hummus?
I wish I could claim this idea was mine, but it wasn’t. I did what every responsible parent does in a time of child-crisis. I Googled it. Turns out, coercing your child into eating hummus is as simple as two letters: P and B.
Maybe, just don’t call it hummus when you present it to your child. Those sensible child-ears will pick out that one word, delicately weighing the implications in their minds. It won’t take them long to realize you are trying to make them eat something they know that they don’t like. Oh they may have never heard of hummus before, but they know it’s bad!
Now this part was my idea… but please feel free to take it. Call it peanut butter dip. And then just walk away. Give them some carrots, or celery, or pita bread. Sit it on the table next to their peanut butter dip and say nothing else.
Don’t even look at them. Just turn around and mind your own business. Nothing new here. Nothing weird. It’s just peanut butter dip and celery.
I pray that it works for you like it has for me. Us parents… we need to stick together.
Any hummus recipe will be fine, just replace the tahini with peanut butter. It gives a familiar flavor to the kids while still providing some good fiber and protein.
For my daughter, I keep the ingredients basic. I add less garlic and cumin than I do when making hummus for myself. And I process that sucker until it is as smooth as silk. Make it look as much like peanut butter as possible. No drizzled oil or dash of paprika for serving. Just nice, super smooth peanut butter dip (remember, it’s not hummus!).
Here is a basic ‘Peanut Butter Dip’ recipe:
1 Can Garbanzo Beans, (keep half of the liquid)
1 Clove Garlic
2-3 Tbs Smooth Peanut Butter (organic and no salt added is my preference)
1 Lemon, Juiced
⅓ Cup Olive Oil
½ tsp Ground Cumin
Pinch of Salt
Directions: In a food processor, add finely chopped garlic, garbanzo beans, and reserved liquid. Process until smooth.
Add peanut butter, lemon juice, cumin, and salt to the mixture and process until you have a nice paste. Drizzle in olive oil and continue to process until you have a smooth puree.
Nathan is an Arizona State University senior in his final semester of the nutrition communication degree program. He is a writer of both fiction and non, and a voracious reader of both. He is a Realtor in the South East Valley just outside of Phoenix, AZ but can often be found at Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, or just in his home office plinking away at the keyboard. Nathan’s goal is to create enough written content to build a sustainable business as a full time writer. Nathan’s social life and hobbies are predominantly predetermined by his wife and eight-year-old daughter, though he does enjoy the occasional mountain bike excursion or cruising down the highway on his Suzuki.