Today was going to be the start of another 2015 resolution. One far more enjoyable than my stupid, stupid decision to give up sugar for the month of January.
The resolution? To eat a little less meat and a lot more vegetables. Or, to put it into the specific kind of terms that make us more likely to follow through on resolutions:
Try one new plant-based food every week
- Mostly vegetables, but also fruits, legumes, and whole grains
- Either try a new item or try making something a different way
My plan was to recruit my little nephews to help choose, shop, prepare, and taste-test. They’ve gotten more picky about food lately, but they always love gardening and cooking. And the more involved kids are in making food, the more likely they are to eat it. Even if they turn up their noses at the final dish — which happens sometimes — they’re usually pretty enthusiastic about tasting things while we’re chopping and cooking.
Also, they’re a lot more photogenic than I am.
When I suggested this, Ev immediately sat down with my edible gardening books to pick out things we should try. We’ll grow as many things as we can in the garden — but while we’re waiting for harvest time, we’ll explore the grocery store and farmers’ market.
Why plant-based foods? Among other things, because cutting down on meat and dairy is one of the most powerful (and easiest) ways to fight climate change, save water and energy, and prevent pollution.
Food safety is another issue when cooking with children — no matter how much we emphasize things like washing your hands and not rubbing spoons in your hair, young kids probably shouldn’t be handling raw meat.
My plan was to start by making dinner with the boys tonight, nicely dovetailing with The 52 New Foods Challenge, The Kids Cook Monday, and Meatless Monday. Unfortunately, I was up all night with the latest horrible cold that’s going around, so in a (probably pointless) attempt to avoid spreading the sickness, I’m postponing the whole cooking with the kids adventure until later in the week.
Fortunately, you can try new vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains any time you want, on whatever days of the week are most convenient for you, whether or not you have any small children in your life.
If you’re keen to try this out but don’t have any ideas, I was planning to steer the kids towards that cauliflower “alfredo” sauce that everyone has a version of (Pinch of Yum’s Creamy Cauliflower Sauce, for example). It’s an easy recipe for little hands to help with — breaking up the cauliflower into florets, pushing the buttons to pulse the sauce in the food processor. More importantly, I’m pretty sure they’ll like it, especially if we put it on top of pasta, and maybe sprinkle on some parmesan cheese.