Friday, June 18, 2010

How to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables...

I know all you switched-on mamas out there will already have this down pat. But silly me! I'm a bit of a slow learner, and I've only just figured it out.

And no, it doesn't involve making cauliflower puree to hide in my cheesy macaroni. It's so much easier!! In fact, it's so easy it's almost laughable...

For quite a while now, I've suspected that my four-year-old son might be reacting to certain things in foods. MSG for one. And possibly artificial colourings. And sugar. My husband assured me that his boisterous-ness and noisiness were all normal for a boy. (But he would say that, because he wasn't at home all day, trying to deal with said boisterousness, and noisiness. And besides, the kid has a remarkable way of behaving himself in the presence of Dad.....Funny that.)

Every week, I set off to the grocery store with great intentions, thinking this would be the week we would really cut out all the junk from our diet. But then there would be a great deal on crackers, or biscuits, or frozen pizza and I would think "I better get some, just in case I don't have time to cook, and I don't have anything for snacks, or dinner". (Just what their marketing department wanted me to think, I imagine.)

And of course...the "just in case" snacks, and convenience food all got eaten first, because they looked so much better than mum's cooking, and because, well...because it's easy to jib out of cooking dinner sometimes, when you know you can pull out a box of frozen fish fingers.

So, every week, I had to stock up on more "just in case" food, because my last stash of "just in case" food had been devoured during the week.

But last week, I got to reading about some of the things that go into our food, and truly, it's frightening. I decided I just had to go cold turkey. No more irresistable junk in the cupboard.

My son was horrified when he discovered that the only things that were going into the trolley, were fresh fruit and veg, and meat, and some staples. I think he started having withdrawals, at the mere thought of having to live off mum's cooking.

The first few days, there were a lot of complaints and general whining, about there being "nothing to eat". But I started to notice that he'd settled down a lot. He started to look through my cookbooks, picking out things he wanted me to cook. AND he started to eat his vegetables. He's not silly. He knew there was nothing else coming, if he didn't eat them.

The change has been so dramatic, that a couple of days ago when he was bouncing off the walls, I knew immediately he'd eaten something he shouldn't have. The hubby had a guilty look on his face, and confessed he'd given him some lollies at the shops.

It makes me wonder how much bad behaviour at school, and at home, making parents tear their hair out, is, in fact, caused by the food they're eating. I recently volunteered at my son's preschool, and at morning snack time, every single child in that class had packaged food, full of sugar and other unmentionable stuff. Including my son. Despite the school having a "Healthy Eating Policy".

That poor teacher. No doubt, for the next hour she was run ragged dealing with hyperactive kids.

Anyway, the moral to the story is....if you want your kids to eat vegetables, just get rid of all the other (more appealing) options, and they'll soon come around :-)


Xenia said...

Definitely a great idea, I think we're all a little less crazy when we're not hopped up on artificial foods!

Thanks for joining in for Friendly Friday, we're glad to have you with us! Have a great weekend :)

Anonymous said...

Very good point :) It is also just as easy to hand a child a piece of fruit as it is to give them a packet of junk.

MorgansMummy said...

Hahahahah Well my son is still small so I havent thought about that. I will keep it in mind for later on though.

Design it Chic said...

I am following you now thanks to Friendly Friday!! It would be nice if you would share back the love here! Happy Friendly Friday!

Emma said...

Hmmm... yes we are having vegetable issues with my 19 month old too. Not that I allow her junk, but she much prefers the sweet flavours of yoghurt and fruit. We have started to stand strong and only serve what we are having for dinner... and so far she is reacting by hardly eating anything. But she can't just continue on a diet of milk, yoghurt, cheese, fruit and carrots. ha! let the games begin.

EmmaK said...

good idea! only my daughter gets round this by just asking her friends at school if they're finished with their junk food - and they will often give her cookies etc if they don't want to eat them. My daughter is an MLB (manipulative little bitch)