Monday, August 31, 2009

Eat Your Vegetables

I seriously dislike these words. How many times have you heard these words? Maybe you have even said them yourself (especially if you have children?)... Well, here is why I don't like the words "Eat your vegetables:"
  • They put too much emphasis on vegetables as if there was something "wrong" with them; you really never hear people say, "Eat your ice cream."
  • Often these words are followed by, "And then you can have some dessert/ice cream/chocolate/candy/cake..." - Again, it makes it seem like there is something "wrong" with vegetables.
  • If someone tells me to do something, I naturally rebel and don't want to do it. It's no different with children as far as I can tell...
  • Food should bring joy to our lives; being told to eat something is not very joyful...
When the teenager was a toddler, people were always amazed by the wide variety of salads and vegetables he ate. (And I got mad when they made a REALLY big deal about it as I didn't want the teenager, then a toddler, to think that liking vegetables was unusual...).

While the teenager has always eaten a wide variety of vegetables, there were times when he didn't like a particular vegetable. Sometimes he didn't even like the smell or look of something. I usually tried to convince him to try it at least once, but I never forced him. If he didn't want to eat a particular vegetable, he just ate another vegetable or more salad. Over the years, he has grown to like almost every vegetable I make.

Now, it's tempting to take credit for his love for vegetables and attribute it all to my parenting skills and the wide variety of salads and vegetables offered on a daily basis. :o) Well, almost two years ago I was blessed with the arrival of the toddler - a very energetic, strong-willed, independent child. The toddler certainly likes fruits and vegetables. BUT, he is VERY particular about what he likes on any given day. It may be peppers on Mondays, tomatoes on Tuesdays, zucchini on Wednesdays. But don't you dare come near him with a pepper on Wednesday!!! :o)

I still believe in not forcing children (or for that matter anyone) to eat vegetables or "making a big deal" about them. However, I also realize that I got a bit lucky with the teenager... So I have started to make all sorts of soups, stews, and sauces with "hidden" vegetables. The toddler loves them, and if he can't identify it, he won't get upset if I feed him a pepper on a Wednesday! :o)

Last night, I made some roasted vegetables, my favorite way of preparing and eating them these days. And the toddler ate them all...

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Here are the veggies (red bell pepper, zucchini, potatoes, & red onions) that I tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper before I put them in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes
And here they are done! :o)
Questions: What is your favorite vegetable? What vegetable(s) do you not like? Were you ever forced to eat your vegetables?

Be well,