Healthy Hollywood: Fab Food Friday – Chef Todd English's Kid-Friendly Veggies!

Celebrity chef Todd English visits Macy's Herald Square on July 2, 2012 in New York City Celebrity chef Todd English visits Macy's Herald Square on July 2, 2012 in New York City

Eat your veggies, kids! That’s the message of celebrity chef Todd English, who has teamed up with the educational program, Super Sprowtz.

Most parents know a daily dose of greens does your kids’ mind & body good, but getting them to eat their veggies can be a nightmare.

“As a chef and a father with three kids of my own, I don’t believe in ‘kids’ food’ or feeding your children any differently than you eat. My three kids always grew up eating whatever we ate, which was fresh, wholesome, home-cooked foods, and because we didn’t give them that option of anything different and we didn’t put a label on their ‘vegetables,’ they developed a palate for them naturally,” reveals Chef English to Healthy Hollywood.

To help parents make vegetables more fun and edible, Super Sprowtz has created a series of educational puppet shows featuring their super-powered vegetable characters. The shows were staged at various Century 21 department stores.

“What I love about this program, Super Sprowtz, is that they add a fresh and fun “cool factor” to vegetables that makes it culturally relevant for children and families. The Super Sprowtz makes no attempt to hide vegetables, they put vegetables front and center and get kids asking for them, which is an important distinction,” adds Todd.

According to Chef English, one of the biggest mistakes parents make is trying to hide the vegetables on the plate. “A lot of times it is how you cook or prepare the vegetables that become the turn off for kids. Instead of boiling them to death and sucking all the flavor out of them, try roasting or sautéing them in a pan and add in some apple slices for an added healthy kick of flavor.”

Chef English shares with Healthy Hollywood his top 3 tips for making vegetables more kid-friendly.

1. Don’t present it as a chore. Vegetables are delicious and if you can incorporate them INTO the meal instead of labeling them on the side, your kids are more likely to eat what’s on their plate.

2. Pick bright, colorful, fresh-looking vegetables like tomatoes and carrots- ingredients that look as delicious as they are nutritious. Presentation is important, I always say that we eat with our eyes, so if something looks “yucky” to your kids, they’re never going to eat it.

3. Make up stories at meal time. Super Heroes are big with kids, so give their vegetable super powers. Storytelling is very powerful and effective when it comes to eating habits in children, and there are studies that show how storytelling and something as simple as assigning super powers to vegetables can actually cause behavioral change in kids. At the end of the day, it’s all about changing the way you think about food- both for children and parents, and that’s really what drove me to get involved with Super Sprowtz.

For more tips, check out www.supersprowtz.com.

-- Terri MacLeod

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