“Eat your veggies, stop holding that blanket and get your thumb out of your mouth.”
We’ve heard these said a million times; I’ve said them a million times. But why? Sometimes in parenthood there is a time to just throw in the towel. Kids feel pressure every day. Pressure at school, pressure with friends and pressure at home. I don’t feel the need to sit at the table and pressure my child to eat something she doesn’t want to.
Now I understand there is a want to encourage our children to eat healthy. I have spent many a sleepless night worrying that my children (especially my more particular one) were getting the nutrition they needed. I googled and asked friends what to do. I want my children to be healthy, but I have also learned that this will come with age. I am going to allow her to decide on her own when she wants to try all the green things, and maybe one day she will grow to love them as I have. For now I have to be satisfied with them getting nutrition in fruits and vitamins. They are healthy growing kids so I’m not worried.
I have three children with three different personalities. One tries nothing new, one loves to try anything new and the other is somewhere in the middle. I have one who eats sushi and another who eats peanut butter and jelly five days a week. I still ask them to try but I also don’t push. So what do we do when half the family wants to try a new restaurant and the less adventurous kids don’t? I tell them to eat before or after, but you can’t complain while we are there. It’s working for us now. I am letting them make their own choices, and we get to eat what we want. There is less arguing over where we eat, and we still get time as a family.
So when someone is appalled that my oldest child eats mac n cheese almost every day of the week here is what I say :: Did you spend your entire life eating mac n cheese? No, you probably didn’t. Just like we aren’t all holding our blankets and sucking our thumbs as adults. They will learn, and while it is my place to teach them, sometimes learning by example is way to go.
My children started eating veggies at a young age. The are sometimes covered in Parmesan cheese, but they get eaten along with the rest of their food every night. As parents you need to set the expectation that sometimes we do things we don’t like because it’s good for our body or it’s part of being a team.
And here is a secret, the more you do something, the easier it gets. When my kids refuse a food we will eat it frequently until they suddenly decide that it’s not so bad. And it happens almost every time.
So you can cower to the demands of a 4yo, or you can teach them about healthy eating from the beginning by serving a large variety at a young age, and it’s a non issue.