Allow me to let you into my little secret – this is how I get my kid to eat more vegetables than the average kid. I let them choose.
Are you shocked? It’s probably not that big of a secret, but it is my secret weapon for dinnertime and they fall for it hook, line, and sinker. If you have kids and struggle with veggies at dinner, let them decide what they want.
Now, I realize this could totally backfire and it takes some training from a young age, but they’ll get it eventually. From a young age, I allow my children to choose what goes on their plate and if I “suggest” they put something on it – I usually just get a slight eye roll (from my tween) and she does what I “suggest,” but we have minimal arguing at dinnertime about nutrition.
So, how exactly do I let them choose? I set out a toppings bar. I do this for all sorts of dinners, but this time it was chili. Tex-Mex is the best type of cuisine for a toppings bar, there are so many choices.
I will admit that I’m a little spoiled in that I have kids who will eat raw onions and radishes and maybe you do too – I sure hope so. To sweeten the deal, I always have some fresh shredded cheese out on the bar as well.
As my little insurance policy, the dinner itself usually has veggies in it, so the requirement is usually two toppings minimum, but they usually go for more.
Here are our usual toppings for chili:
- Shredded Cheese
- Green Onions
- Red Onions
- Hot Sauce
Think of this idea the next time you’re making dinner and see if you can add a few extra veggies by “topping” your meal – the more creative, the better. Here’s a good chili recipe to get you started – toppings optional, but encouraged.
Chili with Toppings Bar
| Servings 4|
1 pound ground sirloin
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped fine
1 medium green bell pepper chopped fine
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper
1, 15 ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsed
1, 15 ounce can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1, 15 ounce can tomato sauce + 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
a few dashes of hot sauce optional
- In a medium dutch oven over high heat, add sirloin and cook until brown
- Remove from heat, drain grease from pan and rinse grease from meat
- In the same pot, add canola oil, onion, green bell pepper, and jalapeño
- Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft
- Add the meat back into the pot
- Add pinto beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, water, vinegar, and all spices
- Stir to combine and let simmer for 15 minutes
- Taste for spice and add hot sauce if you like it extra spicy