When my youngest son was about 15 he announced to me, “Jason and I have been talking and I know we’re right because we both agree. The only vegetables that aren’t disgusting are raw carrots…and maybe raw celery.” I thought, “Great. The closed reality of a couple of teenagers.”
Two years later he was a vegetarian. Amazingly, he didn’t starve. Now there are no vegetables (that I know of) that he doesn’t like. Hang in there, their tastes will change as they get older.
And in the meantime, what about their vegetables?
- Serve foods they like…most of the time. You might want to cook a bit differently when your kids are young. You can avoid adding “objectionable” foods ~ the ones you know they don’t like ~ mushrooms for example ~ and still have a good meal. (Serve the mushrooms on the side.)
- It is important for kids to continue to try new foods so I suggest the “No-thank-you-bite”…which really is a “bite”. It’s not a small spoonful or 5 green beans. It is one bite. You just want them to taste it before they say “No.” Don’t get caught in the power struggle over how big the bite is. If they say “No thank you”…
- …Consider allowing kids to prepare their own vegetables if they don’t like the vegetable du jour and have tried their no thank you bite. Remember the goal: you want them to eat SOME veggies…ANY veggies…even if they aren’t the ones you chose.
- Get creative. My brothers used to come home and snack on frozen peas…then were exempt from the dinner veggie.
- In an unofficial Facebook poll, people reported liking the following vegetables as kids: cucumber, green beans, tomatoes, peas, and carrots. You might want to try these with your kids. And the following, to avoid, were rated “disgusting”: okra, eggplant, mushrooms, and beets.
3 final notes on food.
1. In Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “What the Dog Saw” he has a discussion about ketchup and notes that by the age of 2 or 3 children “shrink from new tastes”. They frequently want to use ketchup as a way to make “strange” foods taste familiar. Knowing this may help you understand “why?” when your kid doesn’t like the delicious meal that you have slaved to make for your family….or dumps ketchup all over it. Don’t take it personally. Remember. Their food is their food. And…don’t criticize them for it. Hey. At least they’re eating it, right?
2. Cooking with kids (of any age) is a great way to spend some quality one on one time with them. Many kids are more interested in (and proud of) eating a meal they have helped prepare. It’s also a great opportunity for them to learn a valuable life skill.
3. Let kids cook with you— http://www.BeyondBeansAndWeenies.com has a series of recipes on video that are “fast, tasty, cheap and easy. Most meals can be made in under 12 minutes (prep time) for less than $12. They are fast…but they go beyond the standard Beans and Weenies. (Hence, the name).”
Subscribe to this blog post to get regular updates. Want more hints and tips? Check out upcoming workshops page for times and dates.