Eating Green, the Devious Way
What’s a parent to do?
Under the Devious, first and foremost: GOOD MODELLING.
1. Good Modelling. This one is of critical importance. You will be far less likely to get your tot to eat healthful meals if you don’t. So, suck it up and eat your beans! For the sake of your child’s long-term good health, you can make this change in your patterns. And hey, it’ll be good for you, too!
I know a mother who hates vegetables, and who, quite literally, never eats them. Her two daughters – surprise! – never do, either. I am appalled, and predict a life of constipation followed by colon cancer for the entire lot of them.
2. When the kids cluster round your feet as you prepare dinner, claiming to be STARRRRVING!, give them vegetables. Take the cooked sprig of cauliflower from the pot, run it under cold water to cool it, and hand it to your child. So what if that means they’ve eaten all their cauliflower before dinner starts? They’ve eaten all their cauliflower!!
3. Vary the presentation. Make cucumber flowers by dragging a fork down the outside to make grooves, then slicing it. Put peanut butter or cheese in the celery. Make roses from the radishes, little people from mushrooms. Be imaginative.
5. Frozen veggies. Many toddlers LOVE frozen peas, corn niblets, and tiny cubes of frozen carrots. I often give them out for snacks.
7. Camouflage them. Pureed, vegetables can go a lot of places: in the lasagna, in the mac and cheese, in soups. I routinely use pureed squash to thicken and sweeten soups and stews. Pureed squash makes chicken noodle soup taste really good to most kids. Just don’t tell them it’s in there…
(Word to the wise from one who knows: don’t use spinach for this. It turns the broth an unbelievable emerald green, that simply can’t be explained away.)
Those are all options in the Devious category, ways to sneak vegetables into your child without the direct confrontation. But wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to set a meal in front of your child, and have it get eaten without fuss? I bet you get tired of this song-and-dance routine some days, jumping through hoops provided by someone who only reaches mid-thigh! Don’t you look forward to the day when a piece of broccoli is just another item on the plate, not an invitation to bedlam and domestic upheaval?
It can happen! It won’t happen by Devious means, however. To achieve that goal, my friends, you will have to employ the Direct Method.
Next installment (when I finish writing it): The Direct Method.
© 2006, Mary P