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Sunday, January 22, 2017

How can I get my child to eat vegetables?

For the first seven months of solid food consumption, Goomba was an indifferent human vacuum. Then, at around 13 months, she apparently discovered that she had numerous and complex preferences, and none of these preferences extended to anything green. She's a lot like my cat when we tried to hide his medicine inside his food - he ate exactly all the food and left exactly all the medicine behind in his bowl. If you feed Goomba a spoonful containing vegetables mixed with things she likes - cheese, fruit, meat, more cheese - she will chew the whole mass for a bit to get a sense of its contents, and then surgically remove the vegetables from her mouth and fling them to the ground. For a while after rejecting green food, she remained content with lower-grade orange food - carrots and yams - but now even these are out. (And for the record, I make the best mashed sweet potatoes (the accurate name of the recipe), so if she does not like my mashed sweet potatoes, her preferences are clearly defective.) What is to be done?

Ideas I have had include cooking peas and broccoli into pancakes or covering them in chocolate, but since we presently feed her neither pancakes nor chocolate, I suspect these efforts will simply result in the incorporation into her diet of more bad things that she will learn to want, and no good things that she presently does not want.

12 comments:

Emily Hale said...

:(( I have no advice--haven't had to deal with this particular problem. Although I do (still!) spend a lot of time feeding Chester. When it's stuff he likes, he feeds himself no problem. When it's a food that's a little more difficult I cajole and sweet talk until he eats it. But he rarely straight-up refuses, just demurs.

Oh--I always require that he try one bite of everything--to tell the cook thank you. But after that I tell him he doesn't have to eat any more. (The first bite usually works to get him interested.)

Do you eat what she eats? I also point out frequently that we're all eating the same thing and I think that helps--he likes to copy us.

Okay, a little advice, but disregard it all because we just haven't had to fight this battle.

Miss Self-Important said...

She does try one bite of most things, but with vegetables, she goes no further than that bite (and sometimes that bite is removed). Even though she has discerned no way of saying "yes" yet, she has already become a pro at shaking her head vigorously for "no."

We eat more or less the same food as she does, although she gets additional goodies like yogurt and fruit after dinner. I have definitely tried demonstrating my own very great interest in the green beans, etc., but it does not move her to take an equal interest in them. I just eat my portion and then hers, so it doesn't go to waste. She does not mind.

Anonymous said...

My elementary-school aged nephew doesn't do most vegetables either (one theory is that he's hyper-sensitive to the bitter component in lots of green ones). He gets some of his vegetable allotment in "pouches," purees of vegetables with some fruit (with some combinations I find bizarre: peas and blueberries?). He then also has to try a bite at some dinners before he's allowed to abandon that, but that may be easier with a child more capable of negotiations.

Miss Self-Important said...

Oh yes, we have the pouches and we resort to them often. Maybe they are made by people who share my instinct to cover the peas with chocolate, only they have to tone it down for marketability so they sub in blueberries. (Also, adults have their own version of these weird combinations in cold-pressed juice and those carrot-based fruit/veggie combo juices. But I don't like these either.)

Ben A said...

You joke, but we have had success with green pancakes.

https://smittenkitchen.com/2016/01/swiss-chard-pancakes/

Miss Self-Important said...

Apparently I'm not joking! Do you think this could be done using some Bisquick mix instead though?

Ben A said...

Oh, for sure. And a bunch of the things in there you don't really need to do -- the chives and garlic, e.g.

If you'd like I can forward on a more abbreviated recipe we use...

Miss Self-Important said...

It can't hurt...

Ponder Stibbons said...

Smoothies? I'm often put off my a large bowl of salad but the same amount of greens blended with yoghurt and fruits is much more appealing.

Miss Self-Important said...

Kale and yogurt smoothies? It sounds like southern California has gotten to you. But yes, that is the basic principle behind those baby food pouches. They're just vegetables pureed with better-tasting fruits, like kale with pear, to mask the yucky taste with the yummy one. I don't think my daughter can drink a smoothie yet b/c she can't drink out of a cup without a spout, but it does seem like we will be following the masking-the-green principle.

Ben A said...

Our boys also like smoothies -- but only fruit so far.

In any event, on to green pancakes. Some thoughts from the experts:

1. You don't need to follow that recipe. Indeed, if you get the fundamentals (eggs, flour, milk) right, you can wing it on whatever greens you have. Although my wife does recommend that along with the chard you include "something from the allium family"

2. Bisquick will definitely work, but will lead to a fluffier, thicker, more 'pancake-like' pancake than the linked recipe.

3. An immersion blender is highly recommended. (https://www.lowes.com/pl/Immersion-blenders-Blenders-juicers-Small-appliances-Appliances/4294753801)

4. As a bonus, green pancakes with a lemon-yogurt sauce (maybe add garlic) constitutes an acceptable adult dinner

Amy said...

Just a small amount of reassurance if this continues despite your best efforts...I didn't eat any green vegetables between the ages of about eighteen months and twelve years (I'd do corn, raw carrots only, and cauliflower. And round about age 8, I started eating green beans with the bean part carefully removed). I also ate a reasonable selection of fruits.

At one point in early elementary school, my extremely frustrated mother tried to get me to eat peas by withholding all other foods. After 16 hours, she cracked first. Shortly thereafter, I learned to swallow peas whole so I wouldn't taste them. This freaked her out, and was the final straw in her attempt to force-feed me vegetables.

I didn't die, I didn't display any obvious nutritional deficiencies, and I seem to have turned into a reasonably well-adjusted, reasonably healthy adult. I now eat basically all vegetables.

Except peas. Peas are just gross.