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Archive for the 'the trouble with greens' Category

Fewer troubles with greens


Well, it seems that Rafaelito is enjoying greens — well, vegetables, at least — more with each passing day.

One afternoon when grandma was watching him earlier this week, he asked for green bell pepper with his “special sauce.”

Then he set about enjoying red bell peppers as well. The nice thing is that he’s been asking for the peppers as a snack; we haven’t had to suggest them. That makes it a lot easier to get him to eat them.

But we have a bit of a mystery, too:

The other day, he told us he eats salad with his lunch at school.

I asked him what was in the salad, and he replied, simply, “Salad.”

I asked if there was lettuce. “Salad.”

Tomato? “Salad.”

You get the idea.

The school lunch menu we have at home doesn’t specify anything, so we’re in the dark.

I can hear you ask, “How on earth can you be unaware of what your child is eating?”

Trust me, I feel totally lame.

But in the morning when I’m dropping the smitchik off at school, things are rather hectic and the staffers who man the doors to the gymnasium where the pre-K and kindergarten students gather before being led to their classrooms are kind of tied up with getting dozens of of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds to gather with their correct classmates.

And at day’s end, when my husband picks up Rafael, the teacher is dealing with lots of parents all trying to grab her attention to ask questions.

Besides, it was only just the other day that he mentioned the salad. These days, my brain feels so full that I can’t remember anything but the most vital information from one moment to the next. I’ll remember, at some point.

I’m just glad he’s eating vegetables. And whatever this “salad” is, I’m happy for him to eat it.

Posted by Amy Vernon on Saturday, November 15th, 2008 at 8:30 am |
| | 1 Comment »

The trouble with greens: A small victory


Our efforts to get Rafael to eat more greens have borne more fruit (vegetables?) of late. The newest victory? Brussels sprouts.

We figured the sprouts might win our picky boy over, seeing as they’re a member of the cabbage family and Rafael really likes cabbage. brusselsprouts1.jpg

So, we figured, why not try the über-mini-cabbages?

We learned long ago with Rafael that it’s all in how we sell it.

Cabbage is cool. Tomorrow, we told him, you can try Brussels sprouts, maybe. They’re Hobbit food, we told him.

We often make Brussels sprouts when we have steak, and we were having steak that night.

He was kind of excited to try.

As usual, he was suspicious when he first looked at it. But he would only truy one leaf at first.

Then, a quarter of a sprout. Then another.

Soon enough, he’d eaten two whole sprouts. Along with a whole lot of meat, as usual.


Posted by Amy Vernon on Saturday, November 8th, 2008 at 9:16 am |
| | 1 Comment »

The trouble with greens: A breakthrough!


A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how we were having trouble getting greens back into Rafael’s diet.

This week, a modicum of success: Green bell peppers.

Part of it, like anything with children, is the sales job.peppers-2.jpg

The day before Rafael tried the bell pepper for the first time, my husband talked it up. And told Rafael he couldn’t have it until the next day. We had a green bell pepper, but Rafael wasn’t allowed to eat it until the next day.

He really looked forward to trying it, with “special dipping sauce,” which was a creamy Caesar dressing we buy that has very little sugar in it.

Rafael enjoyed it a lot, calling it a cross between celery and broccoli.

He loves to eat celery with his mommy, with peanut butter on it (we buy the Costco Kirkland brand, which is nothing but crushed peanuts, no added sugar at all). He hasn’t really gotten into eating broccoli, even though he likes the idea of broccoli.

I loved the description, though.

Posted by Amy Vernon on Saturday, October 18th, 2008 at 9:30 am |
| | Comments Off on The trouble with greens: A breakthrough!


The trouble with greens


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.

Posted by Amy Vernon on Saturday, October 4th, 2008 at 9:03 am |


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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