Renee Martinez posted a great article recently on the helpful blog, MothersRaisingBoys, about getting her kids to eat vegetables. I’m excited to have her permission to share it here with you and hope that it can help you with your own quest to raise healthy eaters!
How I Try to Get My Boys to Eat Their Veggies
by Renee Martinez
My 3 year old is not a fan of veggies. Basically if the food has color, he won’t touch it. Unless of course we’re talking about a cookie with colored frosting on it – well now that’s fine for him.
The other day when he refused to eat the one carrot I placed before him, I paused for a moment to reflect on what I had done with the two older boys at this time. They eat their veggies. Or have they always? No. They too initially rejected them…so what did I do?
Then it dawned on me. I told them what any mother would tell her child. If you want you want to become a super hero, you need to go through super hero training. All super heroes are required to eat veggies as part of their training. Green vegetables give you extra points to earn you extra super powers. Of course, how did I forget that!
It really worked with the older two; at least they made me think it worked. Or maybe they ate their veggies just to shut me up. Who knows? Now they even order salads when we go out to eat. They make me proud!
#3 on the other hand is an entirely different breed. He doesn’t seem very willing to give in. I really can’t seem to convince him at all. He just pushes his one sad looking carrot toward me and says, “I no like mommy, I don’t want to eat it.” He’s so cute, what can I possibly say to that cute face?
I bought some yummy carrot soup that I’ve added to things so he doesn’t know he’s eating his vegetables. This works, but it kind of bothers me. Sure he’s eating carrots, but I’m disguising them so he still rejects the real vegetable. It doesn’t seem to help.
When I make dinner, I don’t make special meals for him. What I make is what I expect him to eat. if he chooses not to eat, then he doesn’t eat. I will not make special meals. I know several people who constantly make separate meals for their children. They make wonderful healthy meals for the parents and processed garbage for their children.
When questioned about this, they simply offer that they know their kids won’t like what they make and they don’t to deal with the drama so they make a special meal for the child.
What a pain in the butt!
Since I’m the one making dinner, I’m not interested in spending more time than necessary cooking. So making one meal is practical in terms of time. In terms of the stress-level, sure there are times when one of the boys doesn’t like what I prepared. Sorry. I know they’ll find something on their plate to eat. Once you make one special meal for a child whining about not wanting to eat what you’ve prepared, you’ve set yourself up for having to continue the trend. If on the other hand you resist, you’re children will know that you mean business. They might even taste what you made – and gosh who knows, they might like it!
Kids are smart. They know how to work the system when they see a loophole.
As a side note, #3 ate a bunch of cucumbers tonight with his dinner. He would touch his carrot at lunch, but we’re making small strides toward eating veggies. He may even get approved for super hero status after all.