Tip Tuesday: Children Eating Veggies

Tip Tuesday

Muffin eats most things.  Raw peppers, onions, and anything spicy are the noted exceptions.

I haven’t found a fruit yet that he won’t eat, copious amounts of, except possibly grapefruit.  This is the child who can decimate a pound of strawberries in one sitting and wonder where the rest are.

I’ve been lucky in that regard.

Of course, sometimes he comes up with some strange combinations, such as Sunday’s baby carrot in a stick of celery “hot dog” with ranch dressing “ketchup” at the Christmas lupper table.  Or the salad-stuffed breadstick at Olive Garden.

And we can’t forget (although we have desperately tried) the blueberry taco with pretzels.

Seriously.  Desperately.  Tried.  I’m still scarred emotionally for life about that one.

Muffin has, if you have not guessed it, been an adventurous eater.  But certain “vehicles,” I shall say, have aided that.

And those vehicles are great at encouraging kids (or veggie-resistant adults) to trying new foods.

Vehicle #1:  Topping a baked potato.  Every so often at work, one of the classes makes available a baked potato bar.  It is seriously the best day of the month (I have leftovers for the following Monday’s lunch).  This one taught me something.  Basically, if you stick it on a potato, it has to be good.  Raw broccoli is a case in point.  I like many veggies (brussel sprouts included), but the texture of the florets of broccoli made me…blanch.  (Okay, I couldn’t resist.)  I have managed to convince Muffin to try many foods that foods are good by slapping them on an open potato vehicle.

Vehicle #2:  Pizza.  Muffin went through a whole phase where he only wanted cheese pizza.  Pepperoni magically became “too spicy.”  Then, all of a sudden, pepperoni was awesome again, and it reigned on pizza.  I doubted the magic and mystique of pizza.  And, then, the other day, Muffin saw his dad get a deluxe slice of pizza from Sam’s (with red and green bell peppers and onions).  He insisted he had to have a piece of deluxe, as well.  And he ate…most of it.  The red bell peppers were still a tough sell.  But he ate the onion, when previously he would have eaten it only in onion rings from Whataburger.  But I’ve always eaten onion, I think, because my mom has always put chopped onion in her pizza sauce.

Vehicle #3:  Tacos.  How Muffin first had salad (lettuce) and tomato (other than ketchup and salsa).  As he has proven, there is not much that Muffin will not put on a taco.  Except raw onion.  But usually every other taco topping (including green olives) will appear on a Muffin taco.

Vehicle #4:  Ranch (or another favored) salad dressing or dip.  My parents often do a crudite platter for lunch.  Muffin is always very excited to go over to their house for lunch because of this.  He has been known to consume cucumber, celery, and carrots without said dip or dressing, but he will consume it in copious amounts with the white seasoned stuff.

Vehicle #5:  Salad bars.  If you cut up a rainbow of veggies, the odds are high(er) that your child will jump at the chance to create and consume his or her colorful creation.  Taking Muffin to a salad bar is always an exercise in patience.  If it’s not spicy (or raw onion or bell peppers), he wants to try everything.  And everything must be arranged just so.

Vehicle #6:  Sandwiches (especially and including burgers):  Muffin is much more adventurous on his sandwiches and burgers than I am.  He wants to always eat one of those picture-perfect sandwiches and burgers bulging with toppings.  So he always has salad (his name for lettuce) on his sandwiches.  I rarely if ever have lettuce on sandwiches and burgers.

These are not 100% a guarantee that your child will eat all of the veggies on the planet, but it is better (in my opinion) than those hide-a-way veggie methods that some employ.  Yes, you want them to have the nutrition from the veggies.  But hiding it does not cause them to eat said veggies later in life.

In fact, by challenging Muffin with “you don’t really want that, do you?” has made him try more veggies and odd foods (mussels) than hiding any of it has.  And he is always so proud when he likes it!

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