Better Off Well




Nutty Chocolate Banana Treats For Picky Eaters

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After working with a number of little clients who are, uh, taste-challenged, I understand how frustrating it is for some parents to get their children to eat well. One suggestion I always make is to talk with your kids about food. It doesn't have to be with them. You could be talking with a friend while they overhear; you could be talking with yourself, which I'm sure the kids will love. Point is, keep talking.

One of my adorable little clients was baking banana bread with her father last week. (Love it!) Mom told me that when it came time to add the sugar, C told her dad that sugar wasn't good for them, and they should substitute honey. Victory!!! Okay, so she's still not eating most vegetables, but clearly she is listening.

Try saying these next time you're hanging together (insert your own vegetables)...

At the dinner table..."Hmm...I wonder how these carrots got all the way to our table."At the grocery store..."Wow, these greens look just like leaves! What do you think we could do with these? or Why do you think it's important to eat leaves? Can you think of other animals that eat leaves?" In the kitchen..."We have rice, zucchini, tomatoes, and green onions. How can we make a meal with these?"In the living room..."Check out this neat cookbook I found. Doesn't this look yummy?"

You may get an ice-cold reception at first, but keep going with it. Allow your kids to see that you're excited about food, and eventually they will be, too.

My other suggestion is to go with the sneaky parent bit. So you have to puree a few carrot slices to add to the tomato sauce lining the pizza. Go ahead and mix ground flaxseed into the oatmeal. Add a few black beans to the brownie mix. Try blending half a kale leaf into the fruit smoothie. Yes, eventually you want your children to want whole foods, but at least you'll have peace of mind knowing they're getting some nutrition in their growing bodies until that happens.

These treats are a good example of sneaky-parent strategy. I offered a pistachio nut to my little client prior to making these. After one microscopic nibble, she determined they were not for her. "Okay, thanks for trying!" I said. "You're so good at trying new things." While said adorable client colored in the distance, I ground the nuts and added them to the chocolate, along with coconut...which we later called "snow". It worked! She loved this treat! Shhh....

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Hey, it's important to celebrate the little victories, right?


4 medium, ripe bananas, peeled and frozen for about a half hour 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips 1/3 cup ground nuts (or seeds, if allergies are an issue) 2/3 cup dried, shredded coconut (1/3 cup reserved)


Over medium-low heat, melt chocolate. Add nuts and 1/3 cup coconut. Pour into wide shallow bowl. Remove bananas from freezer and roll in chocolate. Place on cookie sheet and sprinkle with reserved coconut. Place back into freezer for another half hour. Eat within 24-hour period. (Cut recipe in half if not possible. Otherwise, bananas get ripe and mushy, and not so pretty to look at.)

When all seems to be lost, don't give up! This is the future health of your child at stake. And know this: a chef friend of mine, who eats all things vegetarian now, hated veggies as a child! His mom had to do the sneaky strategy thing, too! :)