Often on game nights we have pizza for dinner. The kids are so excited they forgo the veggies and salad filling up on pizza. Tonight the kids were outside playing and were grimy from the mud as well as exhausted. I packed them all into the bathtub for a quick scrub before dinner. By the time they reached the dinner table they were ravaging wolves. The pizza was not ready. The only thing on the table was a bowl of peas (seasoned with a little butter, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese) and a salad. Maybe that was a good thing.
As I placed the salad and peas on their plates Adelin complained “I do not want that!” and Everett shoved the plate away, as usual. Mason however started to devour his peas and was already on a second helping before everyone had been served. (Shocking…I did not think he liked peas) Adelin, Mason’s shadow, joined in eating all her peas and salad. Animosity towards vegetables soon turned into a contest of who could eat their salad and peas the fastest. Requests for more came as each competitor cleaned their plate. “More peas please.” “More salad please.” By the time the pizza was done their little tummies could only handle one small slice rather than two or three.
Experts agree if getting your kids to eat vegetables is a stress do not give up. There are a few ways combat a veggie-phobia.
–No snacking allowed. If they come to the dinner table hungry enough to eat wood they are more likely to eat better.
–Treats are just that. Save the treats for a special occasion or once a day. Kids are naturally drawn to the sweet taste of sugar. They can learn to enjoy fruits and vegetables as much as a cookie if we teach them how. It may take half their childhood, as I am beginning to think in Everett’s case, but it can be done.
–Let them dip. If it takes frosting, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, hummus or ranch dressing so be it.
–To Chop or Dice. Try serving vegetables cooked, raw, diced, sliced or in sticks. Sometimes it is the texture or the presentation that has them turning their nose up.
–Use more fruits and vegetables. Add diced, chopped or pureed vegetables to recipes. Vegetables can add wonderful flavor which means less fat, added fiber and more filling.
–Set a good example.
–Start infants on vegetables. Limit the amount of starchy snack foods.
–Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.
–Jazz it up. Add dried fruit, cheese or nuts to salads.
–Play with your food. Be cute and dress up fruits and vegetables by cutting flowers and making faces.
–Never force the issue. Give them the opportunity and one day they will surprise you.
Photo: Property of MyRecipes