Extra Virgin Olive Oil Diversifying Your Child’s Palette

Flavor Your Life with Extra Virgin Olive Oil!
Life is more than chicken nuggets.

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Flavor Your Life Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Harper Mondays

From birth, you start on this journey of navigating what foods you’re going to use to nourish your body. It’s something every individual does and it’s something that parents think about constantly because every food decision you make for your child shapes how they are going to eat for the rest of their lives. So, you decide whether to use homemade baby food over jarred and research the best brands on the grocery store shelves for snacks. It’s not as time consuming as I may have made it sound because most of this you do unconsciously. You get your information from friends, family, or media. Information is constantly flowing on what are the best foods to eat. My favorite topic is what oils are out and which are in for the best chance to live a healthier life. With the Flavor Your Life campaign, it’s not about health or sales. It’s about flavor, authenticity, and high quality olive oil. On my journey to educate myself on the benefits of shopping for extra virgin olive oil, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to flavor our life and diversify my child’s palette to help wean her off the mac-and-cheese binge she’s been on for a week straight.

Most kids are eating “kid food” and “adult food” doesn’t seem too appealing. It’s because it’s unrecognizable and not as appealing as chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs. So, I wanted to make a small change that she wouldn’t even notice, but boy was I surprised that it was a tremendous change. I wanted to incorporate European Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) into our meals. We already use olive oil when we sauté our vegetables, but I didn’t realize that the value olive oil I had been buying lacked flavor and wasn’t the best quality product for my family. Thanks to the European Union, Unaprol, and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture’s support of the Flavor Your Life campaign’s education for the benefits of EVOO are reaching consumers like me who may be making their cooking oil decisions on price and not quality.

Why buying high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil is important:

  1. You’re getting the purest olive oil when buying EVOO because it’s made by pressing the fruit of the European olive plant. There’s no excessive heat or chemicals used in the process.
  2. Acidity is low in EVOO (< 0.8%) to preserve quality over strictly flavor.
  3. They’re fresher oils because of the lower peroxide values.
  4. You’re guaranteed a fruity taste and balance of flavors due to the rigorous taste testing process and high standards necessary to gain the Extra Virgin rating.
  5. Cooking with EVOO gives you a high smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for sautéing, frying, and even baking.

When you’re shopping for your next bottle of olive oil, it’s important to remember why the Extra Virgin rating is so important. You get all the benefits above and the peace of mind that comes with buying a quality cooking product. Look for the labels that explicitly say European Extra Virgin or do a quick skim on the back looking for some of the high quality profile descriptors mentioned above. Did you know that there are different types of olive oil depending on where it is harvested in Europe?

You can find these types of olive oil in your local grocery stores:

  • Spanish – golden yellow with fruit and nut flavors
  • Italian – dark green with grassy flavor
  • Greek – green with strong flavor
  • French – pale with mild flavor

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dip for Kids - Harper Mondays

Harper doesn’t always try new things. I’ve gotten her to eat green beans by telling her that they turn into cupcakes in her tummy. Whatever it takes sometimes. But, I’ve noticed that we’ve fallen into the routine of making her the same few meals almost every day: PB&J, bologna sandwich, macaroni and cheese, or corn dogs. Not exactly a well-balanced meal. To be fair, she can make her own bologna sandwich, so I let her make it to save myself some time and to soak up her pure joy at completing a task on her own.

A simple way to change how your child eats:

Thanks to Flavor Your Life, Zucchi, and a little help from the grocery deli, I found the perfect way to introduce new flavors to Harper without overwhelming her with a completely foreign-to-her food. If I presented her with a meal that was not appealing and totally unrecognizable, she would refuse to try it. So, I wanted to give her an “adult food” that she knew, but included a lot of flavor. I decided to make a simple (you cannot mess this up) olive oil dip that Harper was able to help me assemble. Zucchi is a 200-year-old family operation that values quality blending techniques to produce the most flavorful Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They were the perfect EVOO to use in our three-ingredient olive oil dip:

Three-Ingredient Olive Oil Recipe (that you can totally customize any way you want!)

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I suggest Zucchi Sweet & Fruity
  2. Dried Oregano
  3. Dried Parsley

Pick your favorite loaf bread, we chose the Italian herb sliced and enjoyed a snack outside. She actually really enjoyed it with the dip being her favorite part! We’re going to store our bottle in a dark cabinet away from the stove. Olive oil is best kept around 57 degrees Fahrenheit, so avoid putting it in the refrigerator. We’ll use our bottle of Zucchi Extra Virgin Olive Oil within six months since it’s been opened, but you can keep an unopened bottle for approximately 18 months.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dip - Harper Mondays

Diversifying your child’s flavor palette can be done gradually and without major meltdowns if you start small and with something they barely notice. Incorporate all the foods they still love and recognize. With Harper we kept the snack simple using bread and dip. Little did she know that she was enjoying a high quality olive oil. If it were up to me, I would say choosing a better cooking oil is a great first step in making changes for your family.

For information on the benefits of European Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you can visit the Flavor Your Life campaign website or their social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter.

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How I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil to get my kid off a mac-and-cheese binge - Harper Mondays

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