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The trouble with greens

October
4

I have to admit, my children generally eat pretty healthy.

Yes, we give them animal crackers. They get chocolate sometimes, but it’s dark chocolate. And the milk they drink is organic.lettuce.jpg

The problem is greens. In the past, we used to be able to get our children to eat more greens.

Both were really into peas at various points, but that seems to have faded.

My four-year-old was really into olives and even ate asparagus, but since he emerged from his extremely picky stage, he hasn’t accepted them back into his diet.

We’ve gotten lucky that he will eat raw red cabbage and carrots. But they’re not green now, are they?

I worry sometimes that we rely on grains, dairy and meat (and sometimes chicken) for the overwhelming majority of their calories. Both our little guys are huge carnivores. And the bread they eat is whole wheat, multi-grain or bakery-made; no Wonder bread here. Their cereal is either Cheerios or Honey Bunches of Oats.

Yes, they do drink juice and yes, they do eat certain fruits. Bananas, grapes, blueberries; Markus will eat raisins, though Rafael doesn’t like them anymore. But that brings me back to my original point: how is it that my children avoid virtually all greens (the grapes they prefer are red).

Trader Joe’s stores sell long-cut French green beans that are — I think — flash-frozen (when we defrost them, they are crisp, so I don’t think they were sitting around for long before freezing).

That seems to be the one in with Rafael, the four-year-old. He’ll eat them. And if — and only if — there’s peanut butter on it, he’ll also eat celery. Unfortunately, celery has virtually no redeeming nutritional value. It’s basically water with a little bit of fiber. And he already gets lots of fiber from all the grains he eats.

He always wants to try salad, but he’ll take a bite of the lettuce, wrinkle his nose and spit it out onto his plate. We keep letting him try it, in the hopes that one day, some day, he’ll actually eat it.

So this is the plan: walk around the supermarket produce department with Rafael and let him pick out a couple of greens he thinks he’d like to try. If he picks it out, maybe he’ll actually try it.

Stay tuned.

Photo via SXC.hu.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 4th, 2008 at 9:03 am by Amy Vernon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: greens, picky eaters, the trouble with greens, vegetables

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About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!

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About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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