If I were ever going to write a cookbook, it would be a lot like this one, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee.It’s like Jennifer has been living inside my head for the past decade! I’m not joking.
You know how I’m always talking about the importance of reducing pressure? About using variety to lay the foundation for new foods? About how teaching kids about the sensory properties of foods eliminates fear and resistence?
Well, it’s all in there. Concrete, practical steps. (Use it as the handy compendium to my book!)
The 52 New Foods Challenge is not so much a cookbook as it is a how-to guide:
- How to get kids used to the idea of trying familiar foods in new ways.
- How to create an engaging game that makes children eager to try new foods.
- How to help your children explore food with all their senses: sight, smell, touch, sound and taste.
- How to get your kids into the kitchen.
- How to reduce tension around the table so you can stop being a dictator and start being a teammate.
- How to help your kids feel safe around unfamiliar foods.
- How to leverage your children’s intrinsic motivation to be healthy eaters.
- How to use rewards effectively.
- How to stage meals to encourage veggie consumption.
- How to shop, cook and plan meals efficiently and effectively.
And then, as if that weren’t enough, The 52 New Foods Challenge, actually provides recipes!
Not hard, complicated recipes. Easy and tasty ones.
Here’s the plan:
Every week your family picks one new food to taste test. One new food. That’s not so hard. And then there are a handful of recipes for each new food so your family can sample it multiple ways.
The book is organized seasonally so you’ll be trying foods that are fresh, easily available, and which you’re probably already in the mood for.
- Fall calls for families to try foods like sweet potatoes, pumpkin and brussels sprouts.
- Winter is all about kale, leeks, Asian pears, quinoa.
- Spring will move you onto asparagus, zucchini, strawberries and cherries.
- Summer introduces corn, peaches, lavender and chickpeas
Get your copy of The 52 New Foods Challenge here.
My family has a pretty diverse diet already, but I have to say that this book put a little more spring into our step.
Reading this book reminded me about foods we like but which I rarely buy—foods like leeks. And while I had a quibble or two about the guidelines for families, this book has already helped us break out of the go-to recipe rut.
Last week my family made Brussels Sprouts Chips. They’re like Kale Chips…only a teensy bit better.
We all dove into this dish with gusto—and huge smiles.
You should definitely try making this. Here are Jennifer’s directions (page 77).
Brussels Sprouts Chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Using your fingers, peel away the leaves from the sprouts.
3. Place the leaves on a rimmed baking sheet. Add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss to combine.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then toss the leaves in the pan. Reduce the heat to 250° F and bake the sprouts for 15 minutes more, or until the leaves are crispy and almost burnt. Let your kids watch closely to figure out the best timing for your oven.
Jennifer’s tip for peeling the leaves: Cut off the ends, turn the sprouts over and gently pry the leaves away starting at the stem. Keep trimming off the ends as you go to make it easier to peel off the layers. This takes patience (and time), but it’s a fun activity for your kids. As you get closer to the center, the leaves will become too tight to peel, so simply save the small pieces for sautéing or roasting.
Recipe reprinted from The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright (c) Jennifer Tyler Lee, 2014
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~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~