Wondering What You Have Done Wrong Because Your Child Won’t Eat Veggies? You Are Not Alone !
Okay so your child won’t eat veggies, or not without a fight it would seem. Is is worth it?
We all know that eating great food is a pre-requisite to great health.That’s true for everyone; parent and child. But, what happens when, your child’s idea of asserting his or her independence and will, takes the form of refusing to eat anything green.
There are beacons of health and vitality who didn’t consume a grain of sugar. If you happen to be one of those individuals you have probably given birth to children who craves only nettle juice. Great, good for you.
I care deeply about both my health and that of my child. I have also done a fair bit of training and work around and food. Sadly the craving nettle juice is not my experience and I am pretty sure I am not alone. I share my experience to lend perspective.
There is no point feeling guilty about the carrot cake you scoffed as a comfort whilst you thought, not about your expected expanding abdomen, but about the weird tripling in face size. Ok I get it, the carrot cake definitely didn’t help. Whatever my route to motherhood, I made it. Here I am, with my beautiful daughter who has sugar cravings.
So, you have navigated the first year or so of obsessive organic veg preparation, frozen into cubes for maximum efficiency and your child starts to notice and engage with the work around. It’s not long before you both face the cynical marketing and bloody birthday parties. All designed to turn our bundles of joy into sugar junkies.
What do you do?
There are lots of opinions but, in my view, no right answers. Here are some of the options often offered if your child won’t eat veggies:
- They just eat what you eat. “That’s all there is!”
- Present rejected food 17 times
- Disguise food
- Give in and let them eat what they want in moderation.
I admit I have tried all of them at one, point or another. The first couple didn’t make either of us happy but more importantly they didn’t result in the desired outcome. What did happen were super stressful mealtimes which missed the point. Of course food is primarily about nourishment but there has to be more to it than that.
What about sharing food, knowing it’s history, how it arrived at our table and being thankful for it? None of that is accessible you are feeling stressed and obsessing about the fact your child won’t eat veggies.
Don’t get me wrong. I trained as a raw food chef and was desperate to encourage my daughter to eat just a little bit more veg and fruit. My cherub had her own ideas. Whilst she was happy to explain to others, in quite a bit of detail, why raw food was good for you, she would also explain why she didn’t like it.
I Am Branded
I have a scar on my hand which reminds me what an awful mother I am. It’s my fish fingers brand. I deserved it right?
Here’s the thing though, recently and despite the fish fingers, my daughter has started making some pretty good choices. Maybe it’s because she has a background knowledge but she really is making her own choices.
The school she attends has living food cafe which is great and I appreciate sadly not the norm for most. What is hugely influential are her peers and her own aspirations (aged 12). These seem much more important influencers than I. I nearly fell off my perch recently when she announced that the Living Food Lab was the best place to have lunch and then later she needs to fill her body full of nutrients so that she is all set for a future career in cirque di sole.
The only advice I can give is really to keep the dialogue open. With young kids I mean dialogue in a very loose sense. Growing food together can be fun and provides an incentive to taste. If you don’t have a garden you could try sprouting. Preparing food together is also fun but pick a time when you are feeling pretty relaxed. Most of all don’t fight over food or make it something else to get stressed or beat yourself up about.