January 20th, 2012 - By Lari Robling
How do you get your toddler to love vegetables, especially if your own childhood memory was "yuck?" We get advice in the field from real moms with some creative ideas for making vegetables anything but an ordeal.
"When I was growing up I really didn't like vegetables, because they were from cans and they always looked like they were slightly dead."
"I actually never liked vegetables growing up."
"I wanted more of my choices to be about fruits and vegetables."
A lot of us can relate! So, when you become a parent how do you go from "yuck vegetables" to Lula Jones' veggie loving four-year-old. "There are times when we are eating pizza and he asks for broccoli." Sure, there are all kinds of nutrition professionals with plenty of advice. But I wanted to hear from real moms and what works for them. Jen McGowan describes how she makes her toddler part of the process beginning with shopping, "when we go to the market what I do is I would draw the fruits and vegetables, and she would bring her index cards and she would be able to identify from the pictures what an avocado was. She would find it, pick it up to feel it, to look at it and then place it in her own cart." McGowan also found that making fruit and vegetable juices was an easy way to acquire a taste for vegetables, "I wanted to make the smoothies more palatable. So, we would incorporate more bananas and oranges and apples. But, then, the most easy green was spinach, and so for her we would slowly integrate different vegetables."
Lula Jones' son, Raiden, also gets some vegetable love from his grandmother Miki Young, "so when Raiden and I are going to have dinner together we choose a color and we eat for that color. So, last week we had yellow. So, we had squash, yellow onions, banana and pineapple. We had all sorts of things, but they were all yellow." And as Young points out, a healthy approach to vegetables includes some treats, too. So dinner also included a lesson in moderation. "Oh and he had lemon sorbet, which was the very first time he'd had lemon sorbet and that was great and that was yellow. So, of course, were the lemon cookies…"
We're all in this together, so leave us your "Reality Mom" tips for healthier eating below in the comment box. Thanks!