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We had it easy with our firstborn - he was eating handfuls of lightly braised Shanghai bok choy before he turned 2. So it furrowed our brows some to discover that vegetables were not our second son`s thing. We started blending our green food powder in with his smoothies from the time he could sip from a straw, but we were still eager to see him eating substantial portions of freshly cooked green vegetables.

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Through trial and error and several failed attempts that involved bribery and maybe a few threats of punishment, we were able to alleviate stress for all by adhering to a routine of finely chopping cooked greens and mixing them in with foods that he is eager to gobble down. As I`ve written about on many occasions, while it`s fine to eat raw greens, I`m a big believer in regularly eating cooked greens, as cooking breaks down plant cell walls, which allows for more thorough extraction of nutrients from our vegetables.

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Mixed Steamed Rice with Shanghai Bok Choy, Oyster Mushrooms, King Oyster Mushrooms, Carrots, Celery, and Hormone and Antibiotic-Free Chicken. Ingredients: Two handfuls of oyster mushrooms Two handfuls of king oyster mushrooms Two handfuls of Shanghai bok choy Grass-fed chicken - 2 to 3 ounces per person One large carrot, roughly chopped One rib of celery, chopped Soy sauce Sesame oil Extra-virgin olive oil Steamed rice

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Pre-heat two to three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large pan.

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Wash and dry two large handfuls of Shanghai bok choy.

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Use a paper towel to brush off any dirt that might be on oyster mushrooms. If you have any larger pieces, give them a quick chop to encourage even cooking of all of your mushrooms. We love oyster mushrooms for their meaty texture and depth of flavor when properly sauteed.

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Same thing with your king oyster mushrooms.

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So your oyster mushrooms, king oysters, and Shanghai bok choy should all be ready to go.

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Start with your mushrooms. You want them to sizzle a bit in the pan for a little caramelization, which adds lovely flavor and texture - you won`t get this if your pan is not pre-heated, so be sure to pre-heat! Also be mindful of tossing the mushrooms a few times while they cook, as oyster mushrooms are prone to sticking, especially when cooked in a stainless steel pan.

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When your mushrooms have a golden tinge to them, add your Shanghai bok choy along with another tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil. Then continue to toss as your greens cook down. Season with sea salt, to taste.

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If you`re entirely plant-based, serve your cooked greens and mushrooms up with some steamed rice or quinoa. I don`t eat too many animal products these days other than some organic eggs and wild fish on occasion, so most of my cooked meals look something like this. For our boys, we have long included a portion of fish, chicken, beef or egg with most of their meals. Over the years, my experiences working with families who have raised their children as strict vegans have led me to feel that including some clean animal foods in a growing child`s diet is helpful for overall development, but this a highly personal decision and a topic for a different post.

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Turn heat down to just a shade below medium, add another tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil, then cook chicken, carrots, and celery. Our boys like their chicken best when it has been marinated overnight in a bit of soy sauce. We often add just a splash of sesame oil as it cooks.

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While chicken, carrots, and celery are cooking, chop cooked mushrooms and greens and add them to servings of steamed rice. Any type of rice will do.

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Finish braising chicken with chopped carrots and celery. You can always add a little broth to help finish braising if natural juices from the chicken, carrots, celery, and marinade run out. For toddlers, feel free to chop cooked chicken and vegetables into manageable pieces before adding to the rice and vegetables.

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Add cooked chicken, carrots, and celery.

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Give everything a good mix and be sure that dark green vegetables are evenly distributed if you have anyone in the house who has a problem with too much green in one location. And there you have it, a simple meal with plenty of vegetables that most kids will enjoy. For variety, you can add vegetable or chicken broth just before serving to turn a dish like this into a hearty soup or stew.

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