Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ketchup IS a food group!

This is a typical dinner plate for my youngest daughter. She will eat just about ANYTHING as long as she has ketchup for it. Of course things like home made macaroni & cheese, french fries and grilled cheese were invented for ketchup. It's the foods you wouldn't expect to get a coating of the red stuff; chicken, steak, fish, asparagus, noodles. Most would say its kinda gross, but as parents, we pick our battles. This one I am willing to concede!!

Its important to me that my kids eat what I call real food. We buy chicken breasts from a farm and bake or BBQ them, no coating, no frying, no camouflaging. We serve our kids halibut, sole and salmon in its natural state . . no sticks, no unknown parts of fish, no breading. They enjoy the nice cuts of steak we have, I share the quinoa, brown rice and barely with them. They are expected to eat at least 1 piece of the vegetable we are having that they don't really don't enjoy - usually asparagus - and also the vegetables they do enjoy.

In exchange for this, I happily put the ketchup on the table every night and buy the king size bottles on a regular basis. My 5 year old can eat anything with enough ketchup on it. My mom says the sugar is bad . . . but isn't a little sugar OK if she is eating halibut and asparagus?

I did a little research on ketchup - its main ingredients are tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and seasonings - sounds pretty good so far! Turns out it gets better. Ketchup is a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant which may help prevent some forms of cancer! This is particularly true of the organic brands of ketchup, which have three times as much lycopene. Also, ketchup, much like other cooked tomato foods, yields higher levels of lycopene per serving because cooking makes lycopene in tomatoes more bio-available! It's looking a lot like a win-win situation to me!!

I say look for brands that use sugar and do not contain high fructose corn syrup, watch your sodium content and then embrace ketchup as a new food group. I am hoping she will grow out of the ketchup covering eventually and enjoy the flavour of the food on its own. But in the meantime, look at all the healthy benefits that come in and under a dollop of ketchup!!

What do you think? Do you let your kids cover up healthy food with condiments?


  1. Ahhh, on Twitter you did say you blogged about ketchup, but I read into it that you had a recipe for ketchup lol... Great post about it though, there are tons of horrible ketchup products on the market. super important to read labels!!

  2. As a chef, I'm wary of introducing ketchup to my daughter. It has nothing to do with food snobbery, though.

    You see, ketchup stimulates all five taste areas of the tongue (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami). In that respect, it's a perfect food.

    I'm afraid that once my daughter starts putting ketchup on food, she won't be interested in foods that have simpler flavour profiles.