Do you have time to make separate meals for yourself and your children? Didn’t think so.
When I first went back to work after my maternity leave two years ago, I fell into that trap. I made a meal for the adults, then whipped up scrambled eggs with sliced avocado for my one year old because she wouldn’t eat anything we were having.
It’s just not worth it. It’s so important for kids to eat what you eat in order for them to build a healthy relationship with food and meal time. They don’t have to eat the meal in the exact same way as you or in the same format, but the food available to everyone at the table should to be the same.
Take these sweet potato black bean tacos for example. I load up all of the toppings on my taco and eat it all together (I am famous for overfilling my tacos so naturally half of it ends up on my plate afterwards. But that’s the way I like it. Taco salad time!).
This is not how my kids eat their tacos, of course. We serve these family style, and they choose which toppings they want on their plate, which they eat individually. A little bit of sweet potato, some salsa, a bif of cheese, some avocado, and pieces of a tortilla cut up into strips and dipped in a mixture yogurt and lime juice (aka fake sour cream).
Deconstructed, family style meals are the way to go when you have little learners. Theres no pressure to eat the meal exactly as you do, they get to select which foods they want on their plate, and they get to have fun trying new things.
If you think your kids will run and hide at the thought of sweet potato black bean tacos – give it a chance! Just keep repeating the exposure to the black beans and eventually, they’ll eat them. I have been giving my toddler black bean quesadillas for many months now, and just yesterday when we had these deconstructed tacos, she took her black beans and tried to place them in her plain tortilla to eat it like a quesadilla!
Same goes for spices. I encourage you to serve the sweet potatoes in all their spiced glory because exposing young children to a wide variety of spices is a great way to grow their palate. Keep in mind I said spice not heat – I do draw the line at pouring hot sauce all over my kids food as I would my own! One day I hope they will do that themselves.
My favourite part of this meal is the absolutely amazing fresh lime and ginger salsa. If you haven’t made your own salsa – try it. Chop up the veggies while the sweet potatoes are in the oven and you will not regret having fresh salsa to complete your taco Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday or Friday). You know how salsa from the grocery store creates a big puddle on your plate everytime you take a bite? Homemade salsa doesn’t do that. Woohoo!
The ginger in the salsa gives it a little bit of an unexpected zing and adds to the freshness of the lime in the most amazing way. I did this for the first time last night and I’m a ginger-in-salsa convert.
Layer up your tacos with avocado, slaw, cilantro, cheese, and whatever else makes the perfect taco for you. Is there really any better night than taco night? Preferably one with a margarita and where someone else does the dishes, maybe.
Enjoy and tell me what you think! How else would you use this ginger infused salsa?