My daughter’s 8, and loves certain veggies – asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli… but before I pat myself on the back too much, I have to say what she doesn’t like: kale, peas, any salad that doesn’t have Newman’s Own Balsamic on it, and the list goes on.
So, what do I do?
Keep on offering.
Besides continuing to have it on the plate (just pick it at later so it doesn’t go to waste), here are my top five tips from a mama who never gives up on getting greens into her child’s mouth (and down her throat, which is sometimes another story):
Give Greens First
When they’re hungry, they’re more likely to eat anything. Do whatever you need to do – stall, answer the phone, burn the meatloaf – but get her to sit down and then just put the veggies in front of her.
Ask for Help
Similar to #1 but with an added trick: string beans need to have their ends pulled off. Raw carrots need to be lightly salted (put some grains of salt into her hand). Cherry tomatoes need to go on the salad.
What’s happening while she’s helping – especially if she’s hungry? Some of them find their way into her mouth.
Hide the Greens
It’s never too late to start serving green food – but the earlier the better. I remember when my daughter thought pancakes that weren’t green were weird. You can blend kale, spinach, or spring greens into cookies, snack bars, and definitely smoothies without adding any weird taste.
Be Willing to Throw Away Some Food (or eat it yourself later)
Just keep serving it. At our house, we have a rule: you must try everything on your plate, but you don’t have to eat it. I don’t want eating to be an unpleasant experience, so I never make her eat. But often she’ll be surprised that she actually likes the pesto or the veggies and rice. Sometimes. And sometimes – I just eat it, or compost. Not really compost but someday.
Love Greens Yourself
I am obsessed with greens. If you don’t know why, just grab my free ebook on the sidebar of this blog. If you’ve read it, you know why.
Even if your child wont touch a spinach leaf, the image of you enjoying it will be engraved on his/her brain forever. Someday, it will matter.
So start with you. If you start the day with a green smoothie, your intelligent cravings will wake up for the rest of the day. You’ll start reaching for the cantaloupe instead of the cookies. And someday, maybe, when your little one is big, they will too. So you’re eating greens for both of you!
Now go get that guidebook in the sidebar! I hope it helps Mama – let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org