Mom Confession: I Turned My Kid into a Vegetable Hater

Mom Moment 10

All they're good for
I have to admit something, but promise you won’t tell my daughter. She has subzero interest in anything that I write, so chances are she won’t find out unless one of y’all say something.

Last night, I pretended like I was going into the kitchen to get a second helping of the sloppy joe that I put my foot in, if I do say so myself. Actually, I was very quietly, very inconspicuously, but very intentionally sliding the same broccoli I had forced her to pile onto her plate in hearty portion off of mine and back into the serving bowl. If you’re judging now, pace yourself. There’s more. 

That’s not even the first time I’ve pulled a trick like that. Once, I eliminated every piece of asparagus from my sight by “sneezing”… and dropping the bits of vile weed into my napkin every time I “blew my nose.” I’m also not above tossing slices of cucumber into potted plants and sliding shreds of bell pepper into my pocket if they’re still so undercooked that they maintain that offensive crunchiness. 

I don’t like vegetables. Not the kind that are supposed to be so good for us, anyway. I love corn, on and off the cob, peas, green beans, potatoes (which, for the sake of this conversation, are vegetables and not just a vegetative carbohydrate). I can even eat carrots in, say, a pot roast or pot pie and chopped onions are a staple in about 65 percent of the meals I make. But mentally, I revert to a finicky four-year-old when I go to the grocery store and see the variety of veggies on display. All beautifully colored and nice to look at, but nothing that I want to see on my dinner plate. No. I don’t want to. And you can’t make me.

But, way before I was a mama, I had health class in school like everybody else and learned the importance of eating the standard five a day, and I’ve read more than my fair share of blog posts and news articles confirming again and again the health benefits of kale and eggplant and (ugh) cauliflower. I just can’t get excited about doing it. Not in an army-green smoothie, not in that V8 fruit juice that’s supposed to disguise the taste, and certainly not eating them raw or just barely cooked. Put those bad boys over an open campfire and I still wouldn’t want them, much less barely braised or nuked.

I fear I’ve passed on my culinary biases to The Girl, who never had so many different vegetables cross her palate because I don’t buy or cook them. Because I don’t like them.

We’ll tear through some fruit, though. Apples, bananas, kiwi, grapes, nectarines, even out-of-season strawberries. There isn’t too much in that family we don’t love. Given my druthers, however, I’d nosh on a piece of cardboard than a leafy bit of something that looks like it should be potted and sold in the garden department at Lowe’s.

I want to set a good example for her and instill good eating habits in her while she’s still young and impressionable, so I suffer in silence (and fake it on days when I can’t choke down not one more piece of this-tastes-like-tree-bark-no-matter-how-much-garlic-I-put-on-it). The upside is she’s slowly developing her own tastes: she loves collard greens and baby carrots (which unnecessarily cost more than regular ol’ carrots, but I’ll gladly pay the difference). If she’s feeling really jiggy, she’ll ask the Subway sandwich artist to sprinkle a little iceberg lettuce across her 6-inch ham and cheese.

I’m trying to be more adventurous, not only for her health but mine. I just got my first Crock Pot and a book of veggie-intensive recipes, some of which I’ve never given the time of day. I’ll keep a napkin or a potted plan close by just in case, but we’ll see.

Do your kids eat veggies willingly?

Image via nannetteturner/Flickr

food, kid health, kids nutrition, school lunch


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Amber... Amberleigh81

I have a hard time with picky eaters. It makes me sad to think of all the fun foods you're missing.

I plan on raising my son like me - new foods all the time and no other option but to eat them. Good thing he is already an adventurous eater at 11 months. He eats spicier food and more vegetables than my husband (whose mom let him "avoid" foods he didn't like and served him lots of hamburger helper and stovetop... bleech).

Venae Venae

Yes, mine love them.  It helps if you cook them correctly - so many people hate broccoli because their moms boil it to death.  Mine is cooked just past crunchy and we use real butter (the horror!).  They say no one's broccoli is as good as mine.  Carrots and corn are easy because they are sweet.  My son just started loving asparagus now that he's a teen - it is a little strong for younger kids.  Can't stand those freezer peas - why are they so strangely green?  I use Le Seur peas - so good!  Green beans - both canned and fresh - are yummy too!  And we love fresh spinach - in a salad or on your sandwich.  The kids' absolute favorite is cucumbers and tomatoes w/a light italian dressing.  

I'm telling you - the key is real butter - you don't have to use a lot.  Nothing beats the taste, it's made from only cream and salt and it's better for you than margarine w/all those chemicals.

Plus, you have to start when they are babies - little cut up pieces on every plate they have (except breakfast!).  I know so many people who say they won't feed the baby food to their kids because it "looks gross" or their child won't eat it the first time they serve it so they stop giving it to them.  You have got to keep offering it.  Otherwise you end up w/kids who eat nothing but chicken nuggets and fries.



Samfan97 Samfan97

I'm with Venae, don't be afraid to use a little butter and seasoning. My 14 month old son eats just about anything I give him fruit & veggie-wise (yes, I realize this will possibly change). But if healthy us the only option, I have faith he'll eat healthy.

tyrel... tyrelsmom

3 out of my 4 love veggies. I think we're doing good.

Roxan... Roxanne71

First, I loved my veggies when I was a kid.  I ate all veggies except for bell peppers which I still do not like.  I assumed my love for veggies would pass onto my daughter.  At this point it hasn't.  My daughter is 3 1/2 now and she still will only eat a small variety of veggies.  Right now the only thing she'll eat is broccoli and corn.  She used to eat green beans and carrots but she's been off them for nearly a year now.  I've been offering her a variety of different foods since she started on solids but that has not helped encourage her to become an adventurous eater.  I still offer these foods even if I know she won't eat it.  Hopefully one day her taste buds will change? 

count... countrygirl670

My kids love vegetables, especially dark leafy greens which I serve up a million different ways.  I use a lot of olive oil and fresh herbs, lemon (and a bit of zest) or limes or oranges, ginger or garlic (or both) and wine vinegars and salt.  Janelle, try more variety in your presentation. Besides corn on the cob, try corn and zucchini fritters with a dollop of greek yogurt and salsa.  Corn pudding. Fried corn with fresh sage.  Corn soup with tomatoes, black beans and fresh cilantro. Corn salad with gr. onions and grape tomatoes tossed in olive oil, fresh basil, lemon and salt.  Green beans, corn and red potato salad tossed in the same except with dill. C'mon Janelle- get more creative so that girl will eat those veggies : )

nonmember avatar Andree

My son is 11 months old and likes pretty much every vegetable I serve him such as kale, broccoli, collard greens, green beans, sweet potatoe, zucchini, squash etc...He likes when I cook his food with vegetable broth. I also use Bragg soy sauce and nutritional yeast which he loves. He is not a big fan of avocado unless it's guacamole. I heard it might changed which I hope not because we are big veggie eaters!

nonmember avatar melissa

My 2.5 year old sees beets in the store and begs for them like candy. She eats anything and everything (except lettuce leaves and basil). People are supposed to get their nutrients from a varied diet.

Your kid will eat what they see you eat. Time to grow up and figure out a way to prepare a variety of foods so you like them to set a good example for your kid. We never make a second meal or give other options. What we serve is what is for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Period.

Nicol... NicoleMarie1211

I don't think there is anything wrong for wanting better for your children. I want my daughter to enjoy the taste of almond milk or coconut milk instead of dairy, but I can't stand it. I want her to have better habits than I do, and those habits are harder to break at 25.

irish... irishmama1007

My 5yr old loves his veggies and always has. He has inspired me to branch out with veggies and I eat a lot more variety than I used to. My 2.5yr old is a different story. Up until a few months ago he refused to let any veggie pass his lips, but he is getting better. Carrots are his favorites and he loves bell peppers as well. Everything else is hit or miss with him.

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