Kids and Vegetables

So I don’t have a recipe today for my 31 Days of Vegetable Recipes series.

Instead, I have some words of encouragement for you, and maybe a little bit of tough love.

I hear all the time from other moms that “My kids won’t eat vegetables.”

And I believe you all, I really do.  Because I was one of those moms.  My kids turned up their noses at every last thing I put in front of them and dinner time was a huge battle ground for us.  The kids would beg and plead, gag and wrinkle up their noses, all while we threatened and begged and bribed our way through dinner.  Our dinner table was unpleasant at best, and downright awful most nights.

It was tempting to give up, to stop trying, to just serve them what they asked for every night, which would not have included any vegetables.  However, it is important to me and my husband that our kids eat vegetables, a variety of them, everyday.  How were they ever going to learn to like them if I stopped serving them?

So I served them, every night.  And we required the kids to eat one bite.  No complaints, no bargaining, no whining.  Just eat one bite.  And we stayed calm about it, removing all the emotion from the battle.

Steamed broccoli is the perfect example.  I served this about once per week for at least three months, and each time my youngest would whine and complain about it. Once she even gagged herself and spit-up the bite she had just swallowed (so we cleaned up the mess and gave her another bite.  We are horrible parents).

And after those three months, something magical happened:  she stopped complaining.  First, she ate one small bite without a fuss.  Then, she ate a few bites without complaint.  And now, she whines if we don’t give her a big enough pile of broccoli and she gobbles it up with a big smile on her face.

I’m not going to tell you that now my kids eat every vegetable I serve without complaint.  But I am going to tell you that they now eat a variety of vegetables with minimal complaint…….and there are even several that they actually really like, after months of tantrums, crying and flat-out refusals.

So here’s my encouragement, or tough love, whichever it is that you need:  Keep trying.  Do not give up.  Persevere.  Decide what is important to you and come up with a plan.  Find new recipes, and get the kids’ opinions on them. Let them help you cook. Lead by example and eat a variety of vegetables yourself, at every meal.

Your kids will learn to like vegetables, probably not everything you make, but they will find a few that they like, and they will learn to tolerate others.

It’s worth it, I promise.

Keep trying!

2 thoughts on “Kids and Vegetables”

  • Thanks for the nudge! I know this – it’s how I got my middle child (now 5) to eat carrots. He would not eat any vegetables at all (except for what I pureed into pasta sauce) so every night I put one small carrot stick on his plate and if he wanted fruit after dinner he had to eat that one carrot. It was such a battle for such a long time but then one day it wasn’t! Now he eats carrots happily. For some reason though, I stopped after that. My oldest will eat almost any vegetable raw, my middle will eat carrots and sometimes green pepper, my youngest eats cucumber and carrots. I’m not sure why I gave up having them try other vegetables other than I got tired;) Time to get back to it!

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