They liked it!!!! Well, one toddler and the preschooler liked it. When I say liked, I mean the toddler who liked it had 4 helpings of tofu (we called it chick-fu) as well as several helpings of peas, the preschooler ate multiple helpings of everything, and all three kids ate the snow peas. We also served "frosty peas" (frozen peas straight from the bag--they love those).
We've decided that our kids need to eat what we eat, within reason. Tofu and stir-fry are normal meals for lots of kids around the world, so we offered it to our own kids. We divided up the stir-fry ingredients (a pain, but usually worth it) into different sections of little TV trays. That way, they can eat the familiar (the chick-fu looked like chicken) and tentatively sample the unfamiliar, rather than avoid the entire creation. We also have rigged up a kid-friendly version of chop sticks for our preschooler so she can eat like Daddy. (You can order kid-friendly chopsticks here.) Our preschooler calls chopsticks "spunsters" for some unknown reason, hence the title of this post.
So, try risky things with your kids of all ages. Presentation is usually everything. Divide up "one-dish" meals into the familiar and unfamiliar. Don't always offer them things that you are eating--this frequently ups the chances they'll want to try it because you're eating it. Skip the snacks so they're hungrier for real meals. Kids love to dip things into salad dressing, peanut butter, hummus, etc. And, occasionally, throw in the towel and give them chicken nuggets and boxed mac-n-cheese.
So far, our kids will frequently eat the following vegetables (it's never a guarantee, is it?):
- sugar snap peas
- snow peas
- green beans
- cooked spinach, doctored up
- sweet potatoes
- white potatoes
- butternut squash
- acorn squash
- red peppers (one kid...)
- raw carrots (occasionally)
- cabbage (in cole slaw form--the preschooler)
We'll try zucchini on them this summer if the garden cooperates. We're still working on some of the Asian greens, like bok choy. We rarely see all three kids eat all that's offered any given meal. Our boys are much better vegetable eaters than our daughter; she has become better, though, watching them scarf down their food. I've been assured this can all change, so this is what they will eat as of February, 2009!