Sneaking Nutrients into kids’ food

Today I thawed some stock I had made a while ago, and put a cup of brown rice and about a quarter cup of lentils into the rice cooker with about 3 cups of the stock. They should all cook in about the same amount of time, and The Boy has already commented that it smells good, so that is a good sign. The Boy doesn’t eat meat, hasn’t for about two years without serious manipulation, and this spring he declared himself a vegetarian. Which would be fine if he would eat vegetables, but he mostly eats rice. He’s a rice-a-tarian. So, today I am sneaking some iron into the rice, with lentils, also some protein.
At his recent check-up, the doctor threatened to do a blood test to see if he had enough iron stores, and actually ordered the test, but said we don’t have to get it right away. It has been a powerful manipulation tool, I can say, “try the beans, they are on the list of high iron foods. If you don’t eat enough iron, we’ll have to get that blood test”
In doing some research, I think he is getting enough iron- from fortified cereal and bread, from raisins, beans and broccoli. I recognize that he does need to eat a bigger variety of food. I have decided not to fight with him about meat, but I will fight about sweet potatoes, and spinach and other nutritious food.
So, what does anyone out there do to sneak nutrition into kids’ diets? And a related question, is it right to manipulate people into eating healthfully? What about freedom of choice?

the best thing about cooking rice in stock? The brown bits on the bottom of the pan- crunchy goodness.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thetinfoilhatsociety
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 05:54:05


    A couple of questions: how old is your rice-a-tarian? Has he always been a picky eater?

    When my kids were young, we ate very little meat and a wide variety of vegetables and combined proteins. There were lots of things each of them didn’t like, but we had a firm rule at our table: you eat a No Thank You bite, or if you gripe too much about the NTYB, you get a regular portion and you eat that instead. Amazing how it controlled the griping and the picky-ness. They’re all adult now, and they eat how they want, but they don’t have much in the way of picky-ness now (although one of them still hates eggplant, one still hates zucchini, and one still hates ginger).

    Just how we did it, YMMV, and it might not work depending on how old your rice-a-tarian is 🙂


    • katsmama
      Aug 17, 2010 @ 20:17:35

      he’s 6, and hasn’t always been picky- I used to brag about how open he was to trying new things. For about 2 years he hasn’t eaten meat willingly. We have a “courtesy bite” rule, and I mostly work on introducing new things enough times in enough different ways that he ( and my daughter as well) will get used to tastes and enjoy them. We praise him like crazy when he tries new stuff, and shrug when he’s picky. I mostly don’t want the dinner table to become a battlefield.


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