So this last week, we have managed to move our vegan ‘tween’ away from her staple ‘Go-to’ favourite junk foods of Smiley face potatoes (oven cooked… mashed/processed potato in a smiley face) and hash browns – the frozen processed patty type. She has had these since we moved to Canada, initially as a replacement for similar British products (I vaguely recall her being obsessed with frozen potato waffles in the UK….
So, OK – I realize that to some of you may be laughing at our calling these junk foods – but they ARE processed and not particularly healthy in any way… but they have been something that was quick to make and easy to please, and our daughter loved them… And some of you may be wondering why we didn’t just make our own alternative… I am wondering why it took so long too… but I have a vague recollection of trying previously, and seeing a lackluster response!
Now, please don’t think we are completely lazy, junk processed food eating vegans – we are not…most of the time. We do eat a pretty healthy diet… But when you have a family, especially fussy children, it can get tricky now and then and you do tend to have a few fall-backs. Still – we knew we could swap these foods for an alternative that was home-made and healthier all round.
So… what did we do? How about REAL potatoes? We moved to making natural Easy-peasy Mashed Potatoes….So quick, so easy! Quicker than waiting for the hash browns to cook from frozen! Who lied and convinced me ‘convenience food’ was actually quicker/more convenient?! 😉
I am sure most adults out there have mashed their own potatoes at some point, but in case you somehow missed out, or maybe your a younger reader, here it is:
Yummy Mashed Potato
- microwave (or steam/boil) the potatoes first, cut in half, leave to cool
- scoop out the insides into a large bowl (keep the jackets/skins – set aside)
- add a couple of desert spoons (1/2 cup?) of vegan margarine
- add a pinch of salt
- and stir/mash it up with fork = voila!
Daughter can help with prep – and then we let her use an ice cream scooper for an extra fun delivery onto the plate! She is in charge of sharing them out, but to be honest: we parents don’t see too many of them!
Using the remains:
We also keep the remaining jackets for a Potato Skins treat:- either for later or another day (they will stay in fridge in a container for a day, no problem). Add some rosemary and/or thyme, a little oil and salt and pop back in oven until crisp… Add some vegan cheese to some if you like. And serve with side of ketchup or vegan sour cream: Toffutti is nice, or take some time to make your own). Another ‘junk’ alternative/crowd pleaser!…
So the mashed potatoes are now our daughter’s latest fad and favourite food – add some beans or peas to the plate and a bunch of vegetables and we have a nice balanced healthy meal!
Sunday brunch feels so less restrictive these days, now the annoying frozen processed stuff is out of the picture… I am actually pleased when I see my daughter’s plate, instead of wishful… Fussy tween has even started eating my homemade tofu egg mayo salad and tofu scramble (will share these simple recipes shortly).
Note: I have been diligently adding these two tofu additions in small amounts to EVERY brunch or meal where I make them, and trying to get her to eat more than a lick or micro-taste each time… and finally… it is paying off! I suspect a few videos about being healthy and looking better may have a little to do with it also…Plus the feeling that smiley faces might be a little baby-ish now…She is at that age…. 🙂
I have also experimented with the other ‘comfort food’ mentioned here: Hash brown patties… and made some really tasty ones using half cooked potatoes, crumbled cauliflower ‘rice’ and onions – delicious! Could see adding spices to make an indian version too…. Will share that recipe shortly also….
So a couple of lessons in this post:
- Be tenacious with kids… keep popping a few new things on their plate and eventually they seem to get a little more adventurous
- Tween-age (8-12 approx.) appears to be a great time to push the ‘healthy makes you look and feel good’ agenda
- Don’t presume that frozen, processed food is quicker than home made!
I’ll update this post shortly with links to the recipes mentioned earlier… 🙂