Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for...Vegetables!

   Oh yes, I have been saving this one.  It is every parent's concern..."I can't get my child to eat vegetables."   Well, how many grown-ups out there like to eat vegetables?  Really, I mean honestly...And if you like vegetables now, how many of you didn't as a kid?  As a kid (and an adult) we want to eat things that taste good.  Sweet and salty are always right at the top.  Sour?  Bitter?  Not so much.  And yet, vegetables are so important to our diet.  There are more nutrients in a serving of veggies than in a same size serving of fruit.  (Fruit contain a lot of water and sugar, while vegetables tend to be more dense and nutrient packed).
As a new parent, I can remember reading about feeding those first solids..."Offer the veggies first. Don't start with fruit."  Why?  Well, I guess there is some conditioning that goes on and if we can get them to like veggies first, then the fruit will be easy.  My son (who didn't really care for baby food, actually neither of my children liked the "strained baby food from a jar") loved yams and sweet potatoes as an infant.  Of course he did!  I would bake slices of yams in the oven with a bit of margarine on them.  Once they were cooked, I would mash them up in a bowl and he thought they were fantastic.  Of course, these days, he won't touch them (that is why I hide them in spaghetti sauce).  One time, I made plums for him.  Steamed them and then put them through the food mill.  They were a beautiful colour, a lovely purple.  He was eager to try them, but they were so sour!  I finally had to add maple syrup to them to get him to eat them.  Needless to say, I only made plums once.  Nowadays, he will eat three or four plums at one sitting when I buy them.  Who is to know?

The best advice I can come up with for getting children (and adults) to eat vegetables is this:  Get them to eat them when they are hungry!  When my children are milling around under my feet, looking for something to eat while I am making dinner, I always tell them they can have a whole carrot if they want but that is it.  (I can remember as a child being told I could have a piece of raw potato, and being hungry enough to eat it).  On really organized weeks, there will even be prepared veggies in the fridge they can snack on.  The plus to this kind of vegetable eating?  When they sit down at the table, any amount of vegetables they eat there becomes a bonus.  And because they have already had a serving of vegetables, you are not nagging them to "Eat your vegetables!"

Happy Packing!


  1. I am with you on the importance in eating veggies! I loved them as a kid and still enjoy them now, even though I know I should be eating even more of them then I currently am. Thanks for the great reminder!

  2. Great advice. I often munch on veggies while preparing meals.

  3. Sorry, I hate veggies, always have. However, I have found them tolerable by juicing them and mixing it with fruit juice, or in chili, spaghetti sauce, and meatloaf. Which leads me to believe it's not just a taste thing (at least with me), it's something about the texture too.

  4. li, my hubbie will not knowingly eat any kind of squash or sweet potato or yams. He insists it is the texture, so I would have to agree with you.


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