I want to raise kids who enjoy healthy food, and I think I’m doing it. Like most positive effects of parenting I can point to, it was a concoction created mostly accidently from a lack of time, lack of patience and a notion that I have a limited window of opportunity to impact what my children do, and I’m not going to squander it. In my early days of feeding food to the children, there was no extra time to create different meals for children and for adults. There was barely time to prepare food, so what the adults were eating, the children were eating. And, if the children didn’t want to eat what the adults were eating, the children weren’t eating. I didn’t have a separate meal from my parents growing up. I sure didn’t have a separate meal from my siblings, and most of today’s parents would admit they didn’t have that option either. Yet, many of them give it.
A few years ago, there were several cookbooks published that featured recipes designed to trick kids into eating healthy food without their knowing it. I subscribe to part of that theory. I never met a box of macaroni and cheese that I didn’t throw a cup of frozen peas into to tip the pendulum. Yet, something feels self-defeating about needing to hide healthy food. A weird thing actually happens when kids get used to eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains. They like them. It’s a phenomena that occurs in adults, too. Try eating plain Greek yogurt for a week. . .it starts to taste creamy, and the colored stuff in the little containers starts to taste like, well. . .candy.