Most moms know the frustration of setting dinner on the table only to be told by your child, "I'm not hungry." It might be because he's tired of getting the same meal over and over again or, on the other hand, because the dish is unfamiliar. While there's no one food or herb that can stimulate your child's appetite, you can make meals more appealing by adding herbs to favorite foods.
Mint With Your Greens
Fresh mint has a powerful flavor kids love. While mint is fine by itself, it goes well with salad greens, and helps bump up your kid's nutrition. In a medium bowl, toss washed spring mix with fresh mint; top it with halved grape tomatoes, quartered cucumbers and grated carrot. In a separate small bowl, whisk together olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, fresh mint, garlic, salt and pepper, and pour the dressing over your minty salad greens. If the mint flavor is too overwhelming for your little ones, omit the fresh mint from the salad and only use it in the dressing.
Homemade Pizza With Fresh Basil
Always a kid favorite, pizza makes a great platform for trying new herbs. Create a classic margherita pizza by topping a pie crust with sauce, cheese, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil. If your kids are super-picky, make a cheese pizza and add a little dried oregano for extra flavor. Or, instead of tomato sauce, use pesto as the sauce for your pizza, and top it with cheese and sliced chicken.
Instead of french fries, stimulate your kids' appetites with roasted herbed red potatoes. Halve your red potatoes and toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet, and roast in a 425F oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Better yet, make herbed sweet potato fries, tossing french fry-cut sweet potatoes with olive, oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes or until brown and a little crisp, turning once while baking.
Herbs are a great way to make food fun. Make your own herbed olive oil with fresh rosemary and thyme, and pour it into a shallow dish for your kids to use as dip for bread or carrot sticks at dinnertime. Dried herbs, such as oregano, chives and parsley, mix well with butter and mayonnaise. Use these spreads on sandwiches or as a topper for a baked potato. Your kids might also like fresh mint added to their iced tea or lemonade. Herbs, such as basil, also make a nice addition to a fruit smoothie.