My original article was going to be on fresh herbs and vegetables but when my editor said the magazine was going to focus on children this month and would like me to do the same, I thought what the hey, I can incorporate the two. Well, that is easier said than done. When my two children were at home, vegetables were not an issue (of course I do remember the line “you have to eat as many as years old you are” was used a bit) and we ate quite a variety. Our vegetable diet consisted of more than peas, carrots and corn, which is what some children/parents feel are the only vegetables farmers grow.
I asked a couple of my friends if they ever had any trouble with getting their children/grandchildren to eat vegetables…..well, let me tell you the words started flying! “Mine don’t like the taste, well, mine think potato chips are a vegetable, our grandson will eat some vegetables if they are smothered with ranch dressing”, any of this sound familiar? I then decided to take up the question about vegetables with my granddaughters. My oldest granddaughter informed me that she could only take “certain” vegetables to school in her lunch. When I asked her why, she replied that she didn’t want to be made fun of for bringing a “weird” vegetable (or any food for that matter) to school – she is only 5 by the way! Here are just a few on the list of “weird” vegetables; pea pods, broccoli, edamame, celery with cream cheese and baby cukes sliced. I asked my 5 year old if she offered a taste to the other kids?…picture this, 5 year old rolling her eyes, “Nona, that would only make things worse”. So, I guess there lies the problem, how do we get parents/children to think outside the box about vegetables so they will be more open to eating them?
One of my first thoughts is to take children to a Farmers Market if you have one in your community. Many farmers will allow you to select only a few pieces of a vegetable to try. You can see if your family will like it so you don’t feel like you’re wasting money if there is too much negativity. Introduce your children to the farmers so they get to know the farm to table process. There is ownership when there is knowledge.
Some other thoughts; do you as a parent like vegetables, are you guilty of only making a few select vegetables that you like, do you smother them in some sauce, do you cook them so much that teeth are not required when they are eaten? Just changing the way a vegetable is cooked can make a world of difference, take brussel sprouts. Throughout my life I never did quite acquire the taste for brussel sprouts but about a year ago our friend Jeff roasted his sprouts and had us try them. Talk about waking up your taste buds, hello! They were awesome. My husband and I were both amazed how nutty the flavor of the brussel sprout became when you roasted them. How about beets? Oh, those things never touched my lips but I found some orange/yellow ones, cooked them with other vegetables and they were really good.
New varieties of vegetables are grown every year (purple carrots, purple potatoes, purple beans). If you don’t have a farmers market in your area, or timing does not work out, Plumb’s Market has fresh, local vegetables and herbs in their produce dept. You broadening your views on vegetables will help your children do the same. Check out my blog for delicious vegetable/herb recipes all month.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Clean sprouts by taking off outer layer. Cut sprouts in half lengthwise. Using tin foil (for the grill) or a cookie sheet (oven) that has been sprayed liberally with Pam Olive Oil scatter all the sprout halves. Spray sprouts with more Pam and sprinkle with garlic or red pepper flakes or smoked paprika, etc. Grill/bake at 375 until crisp tender – Delish!
- Three generations shopping at the farmers market
- Each child gets the opportunity to select favorite vegetables