The idea that kids hate vegetables is total… well fudge. We eat our fair share of that around here, too. It tastes good, goes down easy, but it’s goodness is ultimately short-sited.
I do realize there are some very picky eaters out there. I promise I’m not on any high horse for superior parenting here, I just don’t want parents to give up. I believe you can help your kids to try new things through exposure and leading by example. At least that’s what worked for us.
It’s so easy to believe that all kids reject anything healthy. We’re constantly told by the media, tv, and movies that we have to hide veggies by a) buying pre-made canned “kid-friendly” products, b) grinding them up and mixing them in to something like spaghetti, or c) just giving up altogether and maybe giving them a multivitamin. I refuse to believe that’s true for even a majority of kids out there.
Now I admit, I’ve done my fair share of hiding and mixing vegetables and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I just think we can work towards getting our kids to like the real deal at the same time.
Almost a year and a half ago, I participated in my first Carnival of Natural Parenting. The theme was: how to encourage children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. I wrote about starting a garden. Still no garden despite buying a house, but we did have a baby this spring, so… there! I, however, did follow through on my promise to expose Little Man to growing food through his grandfather’s garden. I can’t help but think that exposure plays at least a small roll in his love of produce. There are veggies he refuses to eat still, but all the ones Papap grows, he eats without hesitation. For real. Oh! And Jersey corn thanks to his Nana and Poppie’s (my parents) use of their local farm stands. Let’s hear it for the Garden State! 😉
I don’t think exposure alone is enough, though. I’ve met kids who lived on a farm and still preferred junk. Our family celebrates good foods. No exaggeration. Both sides of our family “ooo” and “aaa” over everything from fresh tomatoes to squash. We not only eat lots of vegetables, but we talk about them constantly.
My father in law sells us his fresh basil over tomatoes as we walk through the door as “a taste of summer”. My father insists on having fresh corn on the cob with dinner every.single.night of the summer. Both granmothers are awesome cooks and utilize fresh garden fair in their meals. Basically, I don’t think our child had a chance not to like vegetables.
I realize that my first child is only 2.5 and there’s still a for chance #2 to prove me wrong. But I also believe I love vegetables because I was raised in this family. I believe we live in a consumer culture that tries to convince us we need to buy things to raise healthy kids and I’m not biting. I plan to prepare Little Hiccup homemade baby food, just like I did with LM for that early exposure and I plan to continue to “sell” both my children on the yumminess of foods that come out of the dirt.
So be encouraged parents of veggie rejectors! With a little salesmanship, you might have future veggie lovers on your hands.