A few thoughts on vegetables…

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Hi there,

Today I thought I’d give you a few of my thoughts on vegetables…

There’s a reason parents have notoriously forces their children to eat vegetables for decades now – they are SO good for us!  And don’t be fooled by thinking that fruits are just as good – they are very high in sugar (not good for teeth), and their nutritious benefits pail in comparison to vegetables.  The reason so many people are taking mulitvitamins all the time is that we haven’t quite figured out how to make vegetables an every day part of our lives, and enjoy them, whilst reaping the benefits of all those naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

I want to start by singing the praises of FROZEN vegetables.  I know that people think of them as a second-choice option, or frown upon them when comparing them to fresh vegetables, but in fact they are usually better for you!  The reason is that fresh veg will have been sitting around for at least a few days (in you’re lucky), whereas frozen vegetables are picked fresh and frozen with a few hours, and kept in the freshest state possible.  So don’t feel bad about stocking your freezer with frozen carrots, peas, broccoli, or whatever you like!

So, what if your child just doesn’t seem to like vegetables?  My son LOVES them, and would be very happy to be presented with a bowl of veggies for his tea.  My daughter, on the other hand, over the last year or so, has become really fussy about vegetables.  I’d found my way around having “overt” vegetables and found myself feeding her:

Coleslaw (contains cabbage, carrots, onions) – she eats it by the bucketload and doesn’t really think of it as veg.

Carrot batons with dip or humous

Vegetables in homemade soup, blended (we have these for tea at least 3 nights a week in the Autumn/Winter, so warming and lovely with a chunk of bread)

Vegetables mixed into Fritters

Vegetables in muffins and cakes

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However, this only got me so far.  A person cannot be tricked into eating vegetables their whole life.  If we have any hope of our nation cracking our obesity problems, I think that learning to love vegetables could be a great foundation block for the next generation.

I remember reading a while back that it takes a child up to 10 tastes of a new food (on 10 separate occasions) to know if they actually like the food or not.  This gave me hope.  If I can, in a positive way, get my daughter to eat broccoli 10 times, maybe she will begin to change her mind about it, and begin to enjoy it?

So, thinking of it like a marketing campaign, I took vegetables “off the menu” for a couple of weeks, and have now re-launched them in the household, along with a little poster I made with bright pictures of veggies, that says “I had all my vegetables!” I then explained the new system, that you don’t have to eat everything on your plate (or, indeed, all your vegetables), but if you DO want to eat all of your vegetables, you can choose a sticker at the end of the meal, and stick it in your section of the vegetable poster.  The campaign has been a complete success.  My daughter is so intent on building her sticker collection that she asks excitedly every day, “Will we be having vegetables?”, and eats them first on her plate before anything else!  My hope is that, as with any reward chart, within a few months the system slowly fazed out, and by then the kids will just be in the habit of always eating up all their vegetables!   I don’t mind if they don’t eat everything on their plate (if they’re full it seems bizarre to make them continue to eat), but if they’re in the habit of prioritising their vegetables, I think they’ll be off to a good start in life.

I am really only just getting the hang of including vegetables in every evening meal, so if anyone has any clever or fun way in which they include them, please comment on this post, as it would be of help to me and many others!

So, there are my thoughts for today.  I hope that if you have a fussy eater in your house this post has encouraged you to give it another go and give those veggies pride of place in your home!  Good luck!

Yummy Mummy xXx

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