Those beets we keep sending in the boxes…do they just sit in the corner of the veggie drawer for weeks until they are limp and wilted, good for nothing except the compost heap, all because nobody will eat them if you fix them? Customers will tell us, “Um, beets? NO one in our household will eat them besides me!” Now, growing up I didn’t like things like beets, kale, or other green things either. For me, the only thing to do with beets was paint my plate, lips and face with them, until my mom caught sight of it and then I still had to eat them, which I did with great reluctance. (As a child, I discovered that if you plug your nose when eating foods you can’t stand, you can’t taste them as well so they’re easier to swallow!) My sister, however, loved beets and sometimes she was nice enough to eat mine for me. Today, I eat beets, along with many other veggies, probably largely due to my mother’s persistence in getting me to eat my veggies.
Good food should be something one enjoys! Often, certain veggies are an acquired taste and it takes time before we are to the point of enjoying them. If your family has recently made the switch to healthy eating, the transition of changing your diet to one that includes home-cooked meals with more fresh vegetables can be a bit of a challenge.
A balanced diet is important when it comes to your personal health but it can be doubly important in children. What your child is eating now is laying the foundation for later in life, and your behavior and attitude about food is making an impression on them every time you sit down at the dinner table.
For a three-year-old, a plate of veggies may not seem very exciting. Changing perception can go a long way in getting your children to eat healthy and balanced meals. A plate of veggies that is colorful and topped with a homemade cheese sauce can be very fun. Incorporating the flavors s/he is familiar with and enjoys may be the difference between food introduction failure and success, and first impressions are very important when it comes to introducing new foods.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! This rings true in the food world. Remember, taste buds do change over time. Also, by trying different ways of serving up the veggies, they may finish the entire serving the second or third time, despite having a declared hatred for it! The secret is to either make the vegetables tasty or go completely unnoticed. Serving up veggies on their own may not be that appetizing, but as soon as you throw a good dressing into the mix or pile them into a tasty casserole, you can enjoy watching as they are happily devoured!
Consider grating or chopping veggies to make them go unnoticed. Broth-based soups are a nutritional wonder and when puréed many things that have difficult textures are easier to swallow.
In summary, when it comes to changing your family’s eating habits, Moms, you are the ones who make it happen. You are changing your families’ futures for the better, and doing an awesome job!
Marty, for the Klesick Family Farm