My kid, he really enjoys sweets. Candy and cake seem to be his favorites, and while he will absolutely refuse every type of pie, he won’t turn down a brownie or a donut. My kid also really enjoys meat. Actually, he’s fond of a pretty wide selection of animal protein. He has eaten frog legs, regularly orders calamari, and tonight, scarfed down almost four giant babyback ribs. Many fruits are also a fan favorite around here. He knows his way around a Honeycrisp or Granny Smith and, as long as they’re not smooshy, can eat his weight in both strawberries and raspberries. Other fruits are hit or miss, but I’ll tell you what’s not hit or miss: vegetables.
Vegetables are all miss.
Last year at his well-child visit, his pediatrician told him that he really needs to begin working vegetables into his days and he reluctantly agreed. Alas, here we are just a month away from his next well-child visit and I don’t think a single vegetable has crossed his lips since the last. It’s not for lack of trying on our part, either. “Do you want to try some of my salad?” “Take one bite of the broccoli and give it a rating from 1-3.”
We don’t, as I know some parents do, force him to eat one thing to get to another. We don’t say, for example, “five bites of salad and then you can have some chicken,” or whatever. Mostly because it feels icky to both of us to have negotiation around food, but also because we think it then sets up a hierarchy of food. Like, you gotta just get through this crap food item and then you can have the really good stuff.
We continue to talk to him about a balanced diet and the things that help build muscle and support brain growth and yadda yadda yadda. And he’s a bright kid and I think he understands. But he just. does. not. enjoy. vegetables. And, to be perfectly honest, I’ve been fairly lax about it because, I mean, aren’t fruits and vegetables on the same part of the pyramid? The idea that he doesn’t eat vegetables doesn’t bother me that much. I am just not in the business of making my kid eat something that really seems to gross him out. We keep trying different kinds (though we are not trying that hard, I admit) and I am pretty much of the mind that he will eventually come around. He’s a healthy kid who is growing and active and knows his body as well as, if not better than we do. He eats only until he is no longer hungry, he leaves an entire bucket of Halloween candy untouched unless he feels like he’s in the mood for some candy, and he goes searching for actual nutrition when his belly is empty. So, even if we’re losing some kind of unspoken battle with vegetable consumption, already, I feel like we’re winning the war.
Plus, he did eat half a stalk of celery with some peanut butter on it tonight. That’s something, right?