Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WFMW: Getting Your Kids to Eat Veggies

I'd always read that getting your kids involved with growing and preparing veggies would help encourage them to eat those veggies. My oldest is a very picky eater. He likes (and consequently will eat) exactly one vegetable: broccoli. Now I know, if he's going to like only one veggie, broccoli is a good one, but as his mom, I can't help but want more for him. Getting him to try new things is a struggle to say the least. Experts say that getting them involved in the preparation will encourage them to try new things. For years, I'd tried having him "help me" prepare supper by opening the bag of frozen veggies and putting them in the sauce pan. I wondered why he would help me, but still not eat what he was helping me prepare.

Things have been different lately and I think I know why. As of yesterday, he proudly boasts liking 4 veggies (and he's genuinely excited). The first is, of course, broccoli. The second is carrots. Here's how it happened. I asked for his help pulling the carrots out of the garden, then washing them off before bringing them into the house. Once he had them inside, he asked if he could cut off the tops and help peel them with the veggie peeler. After he'd done that, he asked if he could taste one (gasp!). "Ummm. . . yes, of course (trying to sound casual)." Turns out, he likes carrots :o)

A few days later, this same scene was repeated with cucumbers.

And yesterday, we bought sweet corn at the farmer's market (yeah, I know - a kid who doesn't like corn - whats up with that?). I wasn't even planning to prepare one for him since he doesn't eat them, but he asked if he could help me shuck, so I said, "yes". While we were shucking and talking, he casually mentioned that he'd like to eat one, too. So we prepared one for him and he ate it!! :o) And he loved it!

I think the key to making this work is growing or buying the least processed veggies possible. I think it is the act of growing, harvesting, washing, shucking, peeling that makes them want to try it. And I know he won't love every veggie he tries, but I'm going to keep asking for his help and hoping he'll try more new things. After all, we have sweet peas to harvest today.

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marigold said...

Absolutely, you hit the nail on the head! Most kids I know LOVE to garden, so you get help in that department. Involving them in the shucking, peeling, chopping, etc. is also valuable!

Audra Krell said...

This is so funny because broccoli was the only vegetable my son would eat. Now he eats salad and carrots but that's it. Since we don't have a garden,involving him in cooking the food has always worked for me - luckily. Happy gardening!