Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When kids don't eat enough vegetables...

Not my kids. But today, my client's kids. Or rather, "kid"... Just one of her four. He's happy to eat meat, oatmeal (the real stuff--which I made for her family and this child ate up happily complete with goji berries :) ), cheese and fruits. Just notsomuch veggies. I know there's one he eats, but I can't remember which.

Mom was torn about how to handle it. Nobody wants eating to become an argument. This particular child is health with no obvious health challenges. The only negative behavior problem mom can detect she can clearly tie to something non-food related (and I agreed with her on that one). Mom felt that in her life, she had the same meal every night: meat, potato and either corn or green beans (because this is what her mother had access to preserve for the winter) plus some fruit mom had canned for dessert. So mom herself didn't eat a broad spectrum of vegetables. Actually, given that background, it's awesome that they're eating more than corn and green beans. But they are.

I noted that really, I only force my children to eat foods that they have regularly eaten without a problem in the past. I only force them to take 3 bites of a new food, and they're only off the hook if they gag. She noted the potential to fake a gag and I noted that up until recently, my kids had never gagged; but now having had the experience--I agree, they're likely to fake it (both of them--the 3yo and the 8yo). I'm on careful watch. The gag experience I think was far more about the texture of what we were eating than the taste (it was an acorn squash soup with a little broccoli--all pureed; and neither of my kids is particularly good with strange textures).

But alas... how to gently encourage her children to embrace more veggies.

Well, in my 2-hour session with mom, we discussed a lot of cool topics that included the value in raw food consumption and it hit me: put out a bunch of cut, raw veggies on a lazy susan in the middle of the table with dipping stuff in the middle (tamari, italian dressing, hummus and guacamole) and let the kids "play" with vegetables. Viola--raw AND veggies... and fun. :)

YAY!!! I may actually do this at my house!