Since we follow a mostly vegetarian diet in our house, you might think I have an advantage when it comes to getting my kids to eat their veggies. I’m sure other vegetarian families would agree with me when I say, I don’t believe our eating preferences have much to do with the amount of vegetables we eat. When you remove meat from your diet – vegetables do not automatically fill the void.
Meat-eaters or otherwise, for many of us vegetables are just the mandatory side dish. And for many, the not so mandatory side dish. Vegetables are something that “should” be eaten. Not necessarily enjoyed. The I-know-I-should-but-I-don’t-like-so-I-won’t-bother food. It seems to me that vegetables are seriously under-rated.
I’m just a mom and like anyone else, I wish my kids begged me for salads and roasted veggies. Well, okay, sometimes they do. But this doesn’t happen all the time, I would say hardly ever is more like it.
When it comes to getting my kids to appreciate vegetables, my approach is a bit different. And sometimes I actually believe it is working. My approach is to start with “veggie respect”, not veggie eating.
Since March is nutrition month, I’ve decided to dedicate a bit of time to the topic of kids and vegetables. Let’s call it Veggie Appreciation Month. This is the first post in a series of many, so check back often.
Now, before I get started, please don’t take this as I think my kids are perfect veggie eaters and at the ages of 5 and 7 they follow a perfectly healthy vegan diet or something like that. I’ve said before, my blog is not about perfection. My kid’s diet is not about perfection. (Neither is mine – I just found 2 chocolate peanut butter chunk cookies in the lunch room – talk about chocolatey peanuty perfection! For me perfection is for cookies.) No – our diet, my kid’s diet, is about trial, error, and testing. It’s about patience. Eating vegetables is a habit, skill perhaps is a better word, and like all skills it requires patience and practice.
And it needs a good coach.
This post and the ones that follow are about what I do with my kids that has helped get some vegetables past their lips and into their tummies.