green beans with walnuts and balsamic

August 2, 2012  |  Side Dishes
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green beans with walnuts and blasamic

My kids love green beans. And broccoli. And Greek olives. And fresh figs. What can I say? I’m a lucky gal.

 

But I like to think that some of it wasn’t luck. Even before our fist daughter was born, I worried I’d end up the foodie mom with a picky eater. So I started researching it when I was pregnant. How DO you get kids to be adventurous eaters?

 

I started by asking my mom how she got my sister Jessie and me to eat spicy chili, steamed artichokes with hollandaise and chopped salad with olives and tomatoes like it was no big deal.

Freckles Romaine

She told me that what she served was the only option. She fed us dinner and we ate it. That was the menu. Sure there were moments when we genuinely didn’t like something. She didn’t make us another meal. That was it. That’s the model I’ve adapted too, and it actually has worked for the most part.

 

If my kids don’t eat something, I don’t sweat it. I ignore it actually. As you know it takes something crazy like 10 or 15 exposures of a new food for a child to accept it.  So knowing that fact, even when my kids reject something the first or sixth time, I will blindly forge ahead and put it on their plate or in their lunchbox again and again. Eventually they’ll get their 10 exposures in, and accept the formerly yucky food.

07_27_11_child_eating_low_fat_ranch_dip_0203_small

Another pivotal discussion that has influenced my attitudes about picky eating was about a year and a half ago when I had wonderful fortune to interview Craig Johnston, Assistant Professor Department of pediatrics in Children’s Nutrition research center Baylor College of Medicine. Got all that? He’s a kids’ nutrition guy. I wrote about him here too.  Anyway, I took a lot of what he said to heart in how I teach my own kids about healthy eating.

green-beans-with-walnuts

Basically he said that if parents are trying to get kids to eat more vegetables they can start with a vegetable kids don’t mind so much. Like for my kids that would be green beans. For others it may be peas or carrots. He says those easy veggies are like a “gateway vegetable.” When the kids eat them, make sure to praise the heck out of them. So I always make it fun and rewarding to make healthy choices. I’m like “Oh my goodness you’re the green bean monster!” Or “Look at you, eating your vegetables!”

 

Johnston said parents can say something like “your taste-buds are growing up” when their kids eat even a little bite.  And then you can move on to the next level of vegetable, like zucchini. Start off adding a little zucchini, maybe it’s nine parts green beans and one part zucchini to begin with, Johnston says. And if you see them eat even a tiny bite, praise them.

Johnston says instead of the “stealth health” you ultimately want to get the kids eating the vegetables and tasting the vegetables. I couldn’t agree more. And with green beans tasting this good who wouldn’t want to call themselves a green bean monster?!

green-beans-with-walnuts

 

green beans with walnuts and balsamic

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Makes: 6 cups

green beans with walnuts and balsamic

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed (about 8 cups)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring until the garlic is just barely showing signs of turning brown, 30 to 90 seconds. Immediately pour into a large mixing bowl to stop cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, add 1 to 2 inches of water to a large pot fitted with a steamer attachment, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add green beans to steamer, and cook, covered until the beans are crisp tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the green beans to the bowl. Add walnuts, balsamic and salt and toss to coat.
http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/green-beans-with-walnuts-and-balsamic/


14 Comments


  1. This looks delicious Katie. I’m going to make it this weekend with beans from Jean-Talon Market.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Marie

  2. This post is very informative. I love your blog so I have nominated you for an award. Come and have a look, when you can!
    http://yummyfoodmadeeasy.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/thank-you-for-the-nomination-of-the-inspiring-blog-award/

  3. [quote name=Marie]This looks delicious Katie. I’m going to make it this weekend with beans from Jean-Talon Market.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Marie[/quote]Marie,
    Aww, you’re the best! I love Jean-Talon too! Enjoy the beans and happy cooking.

  4. I came across your blog via pinterest and enjoyed it very much. I have recently made an effort to eat healthy and in the process have found I enjoy eating locally. You are a breath of fresh air – thanks for the recipes, photographs, and the commentary…enjoyed all.

  5. [quote name=Sadowski]I came across your blog via pinterest and enjoyed it very much. I have recently made an effort to eat healthy and in the process have found I enjoy eating locally. You are a breath of fresh air – thanks for the recipes, photographs, and the commentary…enjoyed all.[/quote]Thank you so much. You just made my day. I agree eating locally helps me eat healthfully too! Happy cooking!

  6. Charlie is chowing on these right now. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Deee-licious.

  7. This looks delicious – I’m going to make these beans for Thanksgiving!

  8. question..one of my boys has some food sensory issues so he prefers and will only eat green beans that have been steamed soft within an inch of their little lives! I’m hoping and assuming the “tender crisp” aspect of this recipe is a personal choice and there’s no reason it would turn out with floppy green beans is there?

  9. Jaci,
    No it should be fine. They may not be as bright green, but if cooking them a bit more means your son eats them, I say go for it!

  10. My girls loved these – I can’t usually get then to eat walnuts! Thx for this great recipe.

  11. Hi, I was thinking of serving this on a larger scale for my daughter’s grad party. Do you think I could blanch beans a day ahead and serve this as a cold dish? Thanks, Lori

  12. I could not agree with you more. We have a saying in our house when my 3 year eats something that he has refused to eat for a while. He says with such surprise, mum I have changed my mind I like it very much now. And we all get excited about it.

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