How do I get my kid to eat more veg?



I have this theory that parents have no choice but to have anxiety about their children. Like, the moment you become responsible for another human you’re awarded a substantial anxiety retainer which must be allocated to something at any given moment. If things are generally good – your child is healthy, your home is secure – the anxiety allocation is still available to be distributed and it makes sense that you might land on eating. Food is a basic need, failing to feed your child feels like flunking out of introductory parenting; at the same time, it’s an arena that’s difficult to control. You can take the mountain to Mohammed but if Mohammed looks at said mound and says, Urgh, yucky!’ whatcha gonna do? 

What I’m trying to say it that veg is good, veg is great, lets all aim for the five, seven, nine or whatever number of portions the government reckon we should be consuming each day but veg is not love; veg is not freedom, a life without veg is a life worth living. There are many children with severe eating issues, issues that result in malnutrition and growth problems but the vast majority of parents that worry about peas do not have these children, they have healthy, energetic, strong willed kids that don’t eat peas. In summary, if you are worried about vegetables but you have access to fresh veg and the finances to purchase it, you don’t have much to worry about at all. Not only this but your stress will create a bigger problem because your child will begin to associate green beans with angst and carrots with conflict and end up having nightmares about kale chasing them down the street. 

What to do? Buy a multivitamin, Bassets chewables are like sweets, and then give up. Focus on all the other issues that come along with being a parent in this scary, dark society we’ve all played a part in creating. I’m not saying to abandon the idea of veg, keep them in rotation, by all means eat plenty yourself, goodness knows you’ll need the energy. If you have the patience for it sneak them into sauces and smoothies but don’t beat yourself up about it if you can’t. Those other parents with happy eaters – their time will come. When my son started solids he ate anything, any darn thing. I was so smug about his ultra-mature palate; so eager to shout about all the olives and mushrooms and asparagus he was mainlining. These days, if it ain’t beige, it ain’t safe and I’ve steeled myself for many more protests. This is the start of a litany of battles, when your child complains, tell them to pick out the sweetcorn and then change the subject, when they learn that their eating habits are no longer getting under your skin, they’ll move onto something else.  Children are only happy when they’re tormenting you – don’t make it easy for them.

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