Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A kid will eat anything if dipping sauce is involved

At least this was my theory during the recipe planning stage of last Wednesday's cooking class with young kiddos in the anti-obesity program at the neighborhood health clinic. Tell me I am wrong: that a child will not be more likely to eat something if they can dip it into something else. Doesn't matter if it's ranch dressing or barbecue sauce or ketchup or a healthy dressing. The point is the dipping.

So after we collectively washed and chopped broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, onions, avocados, bell peppers, and string beans; once we'd juiced a bag of lemons and whisked olive oil and ground black pepper and torn fresh herbs; following our mincing of garlic, peeling of hard-boiled eggs, and draining of black beans; and subsequent to the rinsing and patting dry of our lettuce leaves that would be the base for our vegetarian wraps; we each dunked our "tortillas de lechuga rellenas y enrolladas" in one of four simple, healthy, just-made dips. Ha! If they only realized that was low-fat Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream. And they were positively guzzling the lemon herb concoction....


The vast majority of students came back for seconds, some under the auspices of trying out one of the other (surprisingly healthy, moo ha ha ha) dips. Some came back for thirds! I did feel a little bad when one of the adults told me later that the students had their physical activity after the snack session. Oops. Well, at least it was a light and healthy snack.... that hopefully did not end up regurgitated all over the 3rd floor of the Upper Cardozo Health Clinic.

The low-carb wraps and cut up raw veggies were a hit! I attribute it to the hands-on nature of the class. I consistently find that folks young and old alike (but especially the young) are more willing to try -- and also more likely to enjoy -- food that they've had a hand in preparing. But just as important, I will concede, is the appeal of dipping stuff into a sauce of some sort. (I know plenty of grown-up kids who could be similarly cajoled. Heck, half the reason I ordered chicken wings tonight at Boundary Stone's one-year anniversary celebration was because of the bleu cheese dipping sauce. I am no purist, though I did check first to be sure that the now-wingless chickens were local and free-range. The waitress couldn't tell me the name of the farm, but I only realized that after beer #2. But I digress....)

Should you want some inspiration for some irresistible dipping sauces to get yourself or a picky eater in your house to eat more veggies, try one or more of these on for size:

Dipping sauce ideas

1) Lemony and tart:
In a jar, shake together 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon lemon juice + pinch of salt & pepper + handful of fresh herbs, minced + 1 clove garlic, minced (optional).

2) Creamy and savory:
Combine ¼ cup plain Greek yoghurt + pinch of salt + ½ teaspoon of curry powder OR hot sauce OR a handful of fresh mint, chopped.

3) Nutty and spicy:Whisk together ½ small onion, minced + 2 tablespoons oil + 2 garlic cloves, minced + ½ cup water + ¼ cup creamy peanut butter + 1 tablespoon chili powder + 2 tablespoons lemon juice +  2 tablespoons soy sauce.
(Whisk in a few spoonfuls of olive oil to any of these to make a delicious dressing for a salad, too.)

1 comment:

  1. This is the truth! But for younger kids it usually transforms into eating just the dipping sauce by spoon or handful.


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