Thursday, September 4, 2008

...Give them a Choice!

I find that pre-teens and teenagers are a lot like two year olds. Except taller...and heavier...and not as cute. But I usual. My point is that when your child was two, your pediatrician may have advised you that for your own sanity, you should give your child a choice. Would they rather have green beans or carrots with dinner? It's time to bring that trick rabbit back out of the hat again.

Notice that I didn't say you should give them a choice about whether or not to eat vegetables at all. I said to give them a choice about which vegetables. When you sit down to plan out your menu for the week (You are doing this, right? You can't afford not to!) , include your children in the process.

Everybody has vegetables they like and don't like. You would be surprised. You may think your child doesn't like vegetables. But if you really start to talk it out, you may find out they don't like vegetables from a can. Or they don't like cooked vegetables. There is nothing wrong with that. Just find out what vegetables they will eat and include those in the plan.

Listen I hate to get all "modern" on you, I mean we can do this old fashioned way if you want and tell your kids to just "do what you say and not what you do" if you want. But wouldn't it be better for everyone if they were enjoying the experience and learning that healthy food doesn't have to "taste yucky"?

My husband hates lima beans. He says that they are not food. He said God made them so that we could keep them in the freezer and use them as an ice pack if someone gets hurt. But that's pretty much the only thing he won't eat, so I can work with that. I don't like frozen vegetables unless it's green beans, which is fine because fresh veggies are better for you anyway. My kids don't like cooked veggies unless they are stir fried. That's easy! I usually just put out a big basket of mixed raw veggies with our meals. And they eat them!

But if I hadn't taken the time to find all this out, I would have spent 20 something years arguing every single night with somebody. Now is that the way you want to end your day? I sure don't.

True story. My sister hated lettuce when she was a kid. She probably still does. My Dad insisted that we had to have a salad every night with our dinner. It is really healthy to do that but it made her truly miserable. And my Mom ended being the bad guy. Of course, it didn't help that it turned into a power struggle. Every night the girl would sit over that salad and cry. It can't have tasted any better with all those salty tears in it.

One night, my Mom was completely fed up and she told her, "I don't care if you sit there until you are eighty, you are going to finish that salad!" My sister looked up at her with tears streaming down her face and said, "When I'm 80, you'll be dead." My other sister and I just stopped in our tracks. We seriously thought that girl was going to get it. My Mom just laughed and said, "Then I'll come back and haunt you." LOL!

Now I ask you...didn't you already have a hard enough day? Do you really want to put yourself through that? Just find out what vegetables your children will eat and give them those!


Molly said...

My mom used to make me eat Lima beans, and I detest them. I finally figured out you can swallow them whole, one by one with a glass of water, like pills.


Anita M. said...

I love lima beans, but the kids can't stand them. They did taste them with butter and salt, but it was a no go. I laughed when I read what your husband thought they should be used for. Molly's solution might work for the next time we have them and they have to take a bite.