Today’s lunch came from the farm.
Yesterday was CSA pickup day at Rustic Road Farm, so our fridge is now stocked once again with farm fresh veggies!
I pulled tomatoes, cucumber, and green beans for lunch today.
[Side note: I have developed a deep and passionate love for fresh green beans now that I have stopped buying them canned or frozen. Even if the waste wasn’t an issue, I don’t think I would ever go back to packaged green beans.]
I steamed then sautéed the green beans [total of seven minutes] and drizzled the fresh cucumber and tomato slices with my homemade caper vinaigrette and VOILA!
Farm fresh lunch!
[Side note: there is no rule that says “salad” has to contain leafy greens or be in a bowl. I like to deconstruct my salads and basically use any veggies I have with a little oil and vinegar.]
My kids ate the same thing.
[They also ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, because 1) we are creatures of habit, and 2) I make the peanut butter, jam, and whole wheat bread from scratch, so it is a pretty healthy meal containing whole grains, fruit, and nuts – then with the addition of the vegetables, it is a well-balanced meal.]
Even my baby girl ate the veggies after her PBJ.
I’m very lucky that my kids love vegetables – but I don’t think it’s ALL luck. Here are some of the things I do to help my kids love vegetables:
1. I assume that they will like vegetables. I think we sometimes condition our kids to dislike vegetables by speaking of them negatively or not even offering them because we assume they won’t like them or forcing them to eat their vegetables in order to get a treat. I purposefully assume that they will like the vegetables. That is partly because I love vegetables. I think that vegetables are AWESOME, so why wouldn’t my kids like them??? Which brings us to number two:
2. I eat a lot of vegetables. I can’t expect my kids to want to eat them if I don’t. I even eat vegetables that I don’t like. I’m not a big fan of cucumbers, but turns out my daughter Evangeline loves them. Brett hates tomatoes, but all three of our kids LOVE them. I eat vegetables every day for lunch which has made my kids view salads as a totally normal meal. I frequently serve them a salad alongside their PBJ – and they always eat THE WHOLE THING. In fact, I started because they used to ask me for bites of my salad so much that there would barely be any left for me to eat so I started just making them their own. I don’t even give them ranch dressing [which, as we all know, is the child-approved way to eat salad]. I make theirs just like mine – with oil and vinegar.
3. I serve a wide variety and large quantity of vegetables. My kids typically eat mostly vegetables at mealtime. They eat a lot of different kinds. Each one of my kids has their own favorites, but they always eat a variety. I always offer at least two different vegetables – but usually more. This way, the meat [if I’m serving any] and starch become the side dishes and the vegetables become the star of the meal [which is the key to healthy eating, by the way].
4. I start them young and don’t stop. I think most people start their babies with vegetables, but eventually start mixing the vegetables with fruit and then slowly over time the vegetables become a smaller part of a kids diet, overtaken by cereal and yogurt and bread and meat and cheese and French fries…things that we typically eat more of as adults. It must be because I eat so many vegetables that I naturally just keep feeding my kids the same stuff I eat.
I can’t say for sure that these things are the only factors, but my kids will typically eat all the vegetables off their plates first and then have to be told to eat their meat.
Don’t get me wrong, they really like mac and cheese too. And tonight we are going to a ball game and they are going to be super excited to eat hotdogs. But, hopefully, overall, they are going to keeping loving their vegetables and being healthy eaters for the rest of their lives.
That’s every mom’s dream for their kids – that they be healthy – right?