Greening the family
Greening the family
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
We’re turning into pirates, and it’s all my fault. I don’t mean we spend our days on the high seas waiting to attack wealthy merchant ships, but our diet is starting to resemble that of ancient mariners stranded on the open ocean. “Aaaargh”, we mumble as we scoff down a veggie-free-fruit-free morsel of food. Despite having read countless articles and recipes on the glamorisation of greens, my family struggles to do this.

Ok, I’ll take the blame: After all, I do a lot of the grocery shopping and the cooking, so it’s my fault if we’re not getting enough vitamin-whatever. With three children, though, it becomes an issue as there is not a single vegetable the children can agree on (apart from Brussels sprouts- they all hate those).

So I offer what at any time may be in our creaky old fridge which tends to freeze anything inside: Broccoli, salad, peas, butternut, peppers and carrots. Sometimes my children are honest. No thanks, Dad, they’ll say, you know we don’t like that. Very polite. Or else they’ll eat a vegetable but only if it has more disguises than a secret agent. Carrots? Only honey-glazed and roasted, thanks. Butternut? That disappears quite neatly into a crowded soup. The Houdini of vegetables. But they don’t like my soup.

There’s always deep-fried veg, but the guilt I feel at serving deep-fried anything isn’t worth it. Besides, all I can hear is my Mum’s voice insisting that all the goodness is in the skins/mustn’t get boiled away.

Throughout winter I persisted with salads, and now that summer is almost here, will persist some more. The presence of cheese in a salad means they’ll accept it on their plates, but only to humour me. They may as well just admit that they want some salad, as long as I hold the tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce and anything else which isn’t a carefully-crafted cheese cube.

Fruit still bounces around in lunchboxes as if I’m merely offering it a round-trip back to the kitchen for the day. How was your day, apple? Fine, thanks, I’m a little bruised, but still in one piece…

I’ve tried vegetable art (potatoes can’t draw very well- Ha.) and fruit salad faces, but will have to persist in finding the winning combination. Some elusive vegetable and salad Holy Grail which the whole family can eat.

In my culinary travels, there have been a few discoveries:

Tomato sauce counts as a vegetable.

So do potato wedges (chips on steroids). Serve wedges with tomato sauce, and you’re almost there!

Melted cheese may work to get a mouthful of veg eaten, but only if said veg is stuck to the cheese.

When you only make a tiny portion, that’s the veg they’ll all want. What, Dad, no more artichokes?

We haven’t died of scurvy. Yet. How do parents manage to do this?

What are your fool proof family veggie recipes? Tell us about them, and you could win a R250 voucher! Email

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