Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies with Japanese Food, Pt.1

25 Aug

What is with kids not eating their vegetables?? It’s like they are pre-programmed to begin turning their nose up at anything green starting at toddlerhood. We are lucky our daughter will eat lettuce (if it’s doused in ranch dressing) and an occasional carrot. But that’s about it. I always feel a little bit embarrassed when my pediatrician asks me what kind of vegetables my kids are eating.

I am going to change my ways though. Vegetables are going to become a priority in our household! One of the ways I am doing this is by eating more Japanese food, because Japanese food naturally seems to use a lot of vegetables.

I started with tempura (天ぷら/てんぷら). You can use any leftover veggies in your fridge or seasonal vegetables to make tempura. You just dip sliced veggies in batter, deep fry a few minutes, and voila!! Add a bowl of rice and dinner is done.  I followed the instructions posted by Maki at (she gives very clear instructions).  The only thing I did differently was to double the amount of flour I used (her version just seemed a bit too watery to me). Here’s the result:

It was really, really yummy. I sprinkled some sea salt on the sweet potatoes and they were just divine! Next time, I would love to fry up some shiso leaves, shrimp, and renkon (lotus root).  Here’s my daughter’s plate:

She ate everything but the eggplant (nasu). Pretty successful, I would say. Even my toddler boy ate some diced up carrots and green beans.

There are many other ways to (try and) get your kids to eat vegetables using Japanese food. Keep checking back for more posts in the future! :)How do you sneak veggies into your kids’ tummies?

PS I apologize for the lack of posts recently. I feel like summer is slipping through my fingers and am trying to make the most of the last few weeks of short-sleeves, splash parks, and  playgrounds… thus blogging has not been very enticing. You too?

8 Responses to “Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies with Japanese Food, Pt.1”

  1. Asianmommy August 25, 2011 at 1:44 PM #

    Looks delicious! I think the kids would like it.

  2. Soybeanlover August 25, 2011 at 5:57 PM #

    I get veggies in using curry rice(nasu, carrots, zucchini, spinach), pasta sauce, miso soup, and ramen( carrots, komatsuna or spinach, moyashi).

    For American food I make garden twice baked potatoes. Just mash the potato center up with lots of veggies in it and bake again.

    Oh, tonjiru is way good too, come fall.

    • Hiragana Mama August 25, 2011 at 7:26 PM #

      Curry was going to be my next post 🙂 I’ve never heard of garden twice baked potatoes, but they sound delicious!! I am jealous of all the different produce available in Japan.

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook August 26, 2011 at 3:21 AM #

    Oishisoooo! Sweet potatoes (satsumaimo) is definitely my number 1. I even exchange my shrimp for that with my brother. 🙂 Your Tempura looks great! Now I have craving for tempura….. My kids eat extra veggies when they are deep fried! 🙂

  4. yukiko August 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM #

    I loved veggies as a kid and I love them even more now! Sometimes I think kids don’t like vegetables because they’re not expected to like them. Or maybe because they’re only served ones that are steamed to death in school cafeterias. I wonder if American kids eat way less veggies than Japanese or other kids because of that?

    • Hiragana Mama August 26, 2011 at 7:09 PM #

      I don’t know how much I believe that philosophy. It may be true for some kids. But I don’t think mine have been exposed to any negative messages about veggies yet. I think the problem is (for my kids), if they are presented with a plate that has pasta, fruit, and veggies on it, they are going to choose the other two first. So we’ve been giving them veggies first, then the main dish, then fruit, then if they eat EVERYTHING, they get dessert. Works most of the time.

      But you are right, in the end, it’s about making the veggies taste good by cooking them the right way and helping them shine. I think Japanese food does that better than American food.

  5. yumenomelody August 26, 2011 at 6:16 PM #

    I hated vegetables when I was little! 😀 But I always loved vegetable soups, which are very common in my country, and that was the only way I would ingest some.

    • Hiragana Mama August 26, 2011 at 7:10 PM #

      What country are you from? Veggie soups are one of my favorite things about fall!

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