I thought this New York Times article was spot-on, well except for the part about asparagus paint brushes maybe... 🙄 😀
Relying on sneaking vegetables in, oversnacking our kids, defaulting to unhealthy kid-friendly fare, and poor modeling surely top the list for impediments to our kids learning to like vegetables.
But why the struggle in the first place?
At the heart of the matter, I think, is the fact that vegetables are less sweet, fatty and salty than other foods, and our culture tends towards instant gratification. We soothe any kind of discomfort as soon as possible, for ourselves and for our kids. That pretty much covers the oversnacking and poor modeling. It even explains the kid-friendly fare that’s so common. We offer up the chicken nuggets and pizza before anyone gets their feelings hurt.
Why the sneaking in of vegetables then? This sort of sideways approach to healthier eating, which also encompasses their favorite sugary breakfast cereal made “now with 7 g of whole grains” and “whole grain white bread” is a guilt-driven response. We know we “should” be doing better but even here we take the path of least discomfort.
What’s the solution? The article highlighted some important areas we can improve. The common thread though, seems to me is for parents to recognize their goal is not simply to make life easier or frictionless for their children.
Every parent needs to decide for themselves what their goals are, of course.
One of mine is to raise healthy, happy adults. The thing about vegetables is they’ve been consistently shown over time to be the healthiest thing we can eat. So I dish ‘em up and eat them myself and you know what? It turns out they’re their own kind of delicious. When we decide nuggets aren’t an option, we give broccoli a fighting chance. So far I’ve raised 4 vegetable lovers. Number five so far thinks her green beans and spinach are not her favorite. That’s ok, baby, you’ll get used to them. 😆
Your turn. Why do YOU think vegetables are more taboo than potty talk at our dinner tables? What can we do about it?