26 Mar

When Your Kids Don’t Eat Vegetables

When your kids don’t eat vegetables, I get some fierce mixed emotions.

I’ve heard moms at my kids’ school saying things like, “I wish my kids would snack on carrot sticks like yours do, but I can’t get my kids to eat vegetables at all.” I think that these moms must be exaggerating. How can your kid be six and not eat any vegetables? I mean, in general, I thought that eating vegetables was a requirement for all of us living human beings.

But this weekend one of the boys’ friends came over and I encountered a child who doesn’t eat vegetables.  We sat down to lunch and the kid declared he eats no veggies and asked for a Coca Cola to go along with his meat.  My husband said casually, we don’t have any Coca Cola.  (Anyway, we don’t serve children Coca Cola in this house.)  But when my kids heard that their friend was planning on having meat, and only meat, for lunch, I said aloud, “Well, in this house, we eat at least one veggie, if we want to get dessert.” Of course, my boys start eating the tomatoes out of the salad, the broccoli, the carrot sticks — in fact, they were going to town on the veggies.  After four plates of meat, our guest begrudgingly ate a carrot stick to get a little flan dessert.  Later, he went out to the living room and ate through the bag of cookies and caramels and Saladix with my kids at snack time.

Anyway, it makes me super sad for the kid. Like, how is he still alive?  And let me clarify.  This is not a class issue.  His parents are college educated.  One of his parents is Ivy League educated (okay, not in nutrition, but come on).  And yet your six year old is outsmarting you.  (Seriously?  How am I not the president of Harvard?)

And that makes me sad and angry because my kids are really impressionable and I don’t want my kids eating around those kids that don’t eat vegetables because that’s not acceptable behavior in our house.  And I worked DAMN hard to make sure that they eat a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

And then I feel kind of smug, because my kids eat all of the colors of the rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

And as soon as I get really smug, they put me in my place.  They eat at the school cafeteria and come back saying things like “I don’t eat fish”.  Or tomatoes, or eggplant, or zucchini, or eggs, or mango, or pineapple.  And we tell them, “Yes, you do.”  And then we have to spend time reintroducing them to foods that they want to “refuse” to eat because when it comes down to it, there’s not ONE kid who doesn’t eat vegetables in their class, they’re the MINORITY who ACTUALLY eat vegetables, and really, they just want to be like everyone else.

But if you have a six year old child who thinks cookies and Nesquick is a breakfast; if your child can list the amount of foods that they eat on one hand, then I think as a parent you should not be laughing about these “mealtime struggles”.  In fact, I would be mortified, like practically ashamed to even show my face if my kids ate like that.

So sorry; not sorry that I made your kid eat a carrot.  By the way, I got some evil looks from him for that.  I’m pretty sure he hates me now.  I don’t care. #sorrynotsorry

So, what do you think?