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    • 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?

    • On second thought, we’ve been know to sword fight with leeks at our house so maybe that article was on to something when it comes to playing with your food?

    • This is such a great topic!

      I always retreat because I am wracked with guilt for serving veggies I KNOW will end up in the trash bin. 🥴 Is it really a better idea to keep serving food the child will refuse to eat? Will he really finally wear down to the point that he will eat the vegetable? Or is that just pie in the sky? (Heh)

      Help me navigate *that* moral dilemma...

    • Having worked with children and adults with autism, I know that sensory issues can play a part in any child’s acceptance of new foods. Some children will enjoy the soft texture of French Fries and mashed potatoes, but baked or roasted potatoes may be too hard. Yellow onions can be overpowering with their strong smell before the first bite, but large white onions are milder in aroma and may more easily be tolerated in pasta sauces.

      The 1970s block of frozen spinach that moms boiled and inflicted on their children was downright vile in smell, appearance and mouth-feel sliminess, but baby spinach sautéed with a protein can be almost neutral in flavor. Fresh steamed string beans and carrots have a completely different flavor profile than canned greens and a bowl of raw carrots. And broccolini sautéed with fresh garlic is 10 times better than broccoli—just saying.

    • I have the greatest respect for parents who get their children to eat — even like(!) — veggies.

      I always wanted to be the cool dad who made our home the funnest home in the world, so I would fix swedish pancakes as the ultimate meal, topped with syrup and powdered sugar. They had eggs and milk, so that had to be good, right?

      At the first sign of trouble when my wife would dare to place green beans on their plates and they would scream DISGUSTING I would be the cool dad who understood and didn't force the issue.

      I regret that. My step mom used to make me eat the veggies on my plate and I learned to like them. The habit stuck with me for life and she and I had a great relationship. I wish I had followed her example as a parent.

    • So, if you were looking for tips, here is an idea that works for me:

      - Serve up a first course with a small amount of everything. Make sure there’s at least one thing the child likes here (even if it’s just a couple of apple slices).

      - Then, offer seconds when firsts are finished. There’s no pressure to eat any particular food, except we eat what we are served before we ask for more. Because it’s a small amount overall, they’ll be hungry for more and because it’s a small amount of the disliked food, it’s less intimidating.

      Example: One morning a week we have muffins and green smoothies. I have one kiddo who doesn’t (yet) love green smoothies. She needs to drink her small glass before I offer her a second muffin. The other kids will happily down theirs and ask for seconds of the smoothie as well. This particular child will sometimes drink her smoothie or just settle for the one muffin and be hungrier at lunch time (veggies on the plate for firsts again) and eat everything just fine.

      Most of my other helpful tips are in that article, actually!

      I wish you all your best in your quest. It’s worth the effort. 👍🏻

    • I spoke too soon: one thing that helps here is that vegetables *are* the main dish more often than not. Mostly that’s because I keep dinners pretty straight forward without a lot of side dishes. This could look like pasta with veggies, vegetable chili, a big salad, or vegetable curry over rice.

      Sure, a kid could pick out just the rice or just eat the noodles but again.... no seconds until they finish their firsts. (I tell my kids it’s because we don’t waste food, but the side benefit is that they actually learn to eat stuff they don’t initially like! Win-win)

    • Of course you can take this vegetable eating too far... this picture is of a time my daughter thought dinner was done and she was ready to carry her plate to the table.

      (It was actually my prepwork to make an Asian pasta dish... but she was ready to sit down to a plate of tofu, carrots and green onions. 😝)