Sometimes I fall into the trap of standing on my head to convince my kids to eat healthy food. It is hard to compete with the outside influences they face, particularly once they start school. It seems where there is a collection of children, there are at least a dozen large corporations standing in line to market over-processed, over-sugared, nutritionally-void food to them, even inside their schools. (Which is a real pet peeve of mine… and by pet peeve, I mean it really peeeeeevessss me. Is it really necessary to put soda logos all over the school and give kids the ability to buy ice cream, chips and soda a la carte instead of lunch!?)
Then I take a deep breath and find my parental zen again. I do not have direct control over the food choices my kids make when I am not around. If I really think about it, I don’t want it. I can control what happens in my home (or at least that is what I tell myself). I can teach my children about real food. I can help them develop a taste for whole, unprocessed food by making sure it is on their plates during most of the meals they eat. I can even pack younger kids lunches and teach my older child to pack her own before I send them out the door to school. But when I am not around, they will make food decisions for themselves. It is a life skill that has to be developed. Rather than focusing on the ice cream in the lunchroom, or the 3rd birthday party with cupcakes this week at school, Jeff and I try to focus on helping our kids develop the life skill of choosing food thoughtfully. Does it always work? Well, it does this week. I will let you know about next week…
Sometimes in my overwhelming desire to feed my family well, I forget that nutritious, whole food is delicious all by itself. I love a good fruit salad made into the form of an animal sculpture as much as anyone. And I love baked goods that are created to fill the void that is left when you give up processed goodies. (If you don’t believe me, check out my favorite scones and these cookies!) But I can’t keep that up 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. There should be a special place on the table for simple food. Roasted carrots are so sweet. And so very simple. Go ahead, splurge. Buy the purple ones and the yellow ones too. They grew in the ground side by side. (And purple happens to be my 3 year old’s favorite color.) If you want to make them really special, drizzle a little maple syrup and grated ginger before roasting them!
- 2 lbs whole carrots we really like the multicolored bunches!
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup optional
- 1 very small finger ginger optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the green fronds on the carrots if they are still attached. Peel the carrots and nip the ends off each carrot. We like to leave the large head of the carrot on because it looks cool, but by all means, cut it off if you prefer.
- Lay carrots in a single layer on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss carrots to make sure they are evenly coated. Roast carrots in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they reach your desired tenderness.
- Optional - For a special treat, grate a small finger of peeled, fresh ginger into a little warmed maple syrup. Drizzle over carrots and roast. Yum!