Veggies are a real struggle in our house. It’s my fault really, as instead of persevering with rejected veg in the early years, in typical first child fashion I pandered to pickiness, irrationally fearing some sort of starvation.
So I became one of those ‘sneaky veg’ mums instead. I pureed and hid them in pasta sauces and soups, threw handfuls in to smoothies, mashed them in to potatoes. I never told her what she was eating. It seemed easier that way. I regularly patted myself on the back for getting all that goodness in to her little tummy.
But now, when I try and get Maia to eat the ‘real thing’, she point blank refuses as she is so unfamiliar with what whole veg should actually look like. It’s veggie stranger danger! She will fuss and retreat, telling me she doesn’t like it, even though I know she has been eating it as mummy’s secret mush for years.
The need for her (and now Harry) to eat more ‘solid veg’ called for a new type of mum sneakiness: ‘rebranding veg.’ We’ve been re-labeling veg and pitching them to Maia using words and foods that she is used to- and enjoys. Last month it was rainbow rice – where we got her chomping cauliflower rice, loaded with red peppers and courgettes /zucchini ). She had no idea it was cauliflower.
This month our veg victory is squash. Via spaghetti squash. We’ve tried roasted butternut squash but no luck. Today she chowed down a whole bowl of spaghetti squash thinking it was ‘mummy’s magic noodles’ with cinnamon spiced bolognese. COMPLETE SUCCESS!
I’ve decided to try and achieve ONE veg victory a month for this year. For some, I might tell her what the veg is, for others like the cauliflower rice and squash, I wont. I will just wait to see if she enjoys it…
Yes, I know, I know, this is still a HUGE veg deception. I am doing a terrible PR job for the veg by not presenting them in an honest way. BUT, we are making taste bud progress as well as jazzing up her five a day! Slowly, slowly catch the monkey!
I know from personal experience that persevering with vegetables doesn’t always work for kids. I think I was around 17 when I started eating vegetables properly. Seriously. I met a wonderful friend who was from a Hindu family and they introduced me to their vegetarian cuisine. Divine. Before this, my mother and I used to have wars at the dinner table over vegetables – to this day, she still blames me being short on me not eating my greens. I guess my deception is born from these memories. I’ve very much adapted an ‘eat now, explain later’ approach to veg in a bid to win Maia over with veggies in the long term. I’m taking it one veg victory at a time!
For those interested, we used these guidelines for the spaghetti squash today. 🙂
See you next month!