Yesterday’s USA Today’s article, “Not eating your veggies? It’s no joke,” is spot on. They said for kids to be persuaded, adults need to get serious. Jay Leno was mentioned, because he often jokes from his TV pulpit that he NEVER eats any vegetables.
I cringe every time I hear Leno mocking vegetables, saying how awful they are. Leno may be the exception to the rule, but most likely he’s looking at a serious illness in the not too distant future.
Who says veggies aren’t fun, not Joshy!
Then of course, Leno could be exaggerating for comedy’s sake. This of course does no favors for kids who hear his negative remarks about vegetables. When someone admired says that junk food is preferred and they don’t like veggies, it undermines parents’ efforts at encouraging healthy eating. Children emulate the adults and think that it’s okay for them to eat junk food, as well.
In my book, Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, I incorporate multi-sensory learning into the transformation process. Auditory learning is vital. That’s why family members should NEVER say anything derogatory about the food served. When someone (either a child or adult) remarks, “That’s yucky,” “I don’t like that,” or “That’s disgusting” they’re cementing the idea that some food is yucky.
Greg, a family friend, doesn’t especially like to cook. He says he can make two things well: coffee and hamburgers. Greg grills hamburgers with a great deal of fanfare. He makes a BIG deal out of it, calling them “Dad’s Burgers.” Greg is animated and enthusiastic about how very special they are. Now mind you, they are just frozen hamburger patties.
Recently, Tom, Greg’s eleven-year-old son, had a friend over for dinner when Dad’s Burgers were the main event. Naturally, the family (especially Tom) went on and on about how special Dad’s Burgers are. A couple of days later, Greg got a call from the boy’s mother. She wanted to know how Greg made his burgers, because her son couldn’t stop talking about them.
Auditory learning is important. It really is! Honestly appreciate and express how wonderful veggies and other whole foods taste. Make a fuss over veggies and eat them with enthusiasm. Eventually, your kids will, too.
If you need a little help in the vegetable appreciation department, get my new storybook, The Forest Feast. Betty Baby Bites and Try Rannosaurus fuse fun into eating whole foods. They both LOVE veggies and their enthusiasm is contagious. You’ll want to read the book over and over again, reinforcing how yummy veggies are.