The photo above is a photo of two of my three children at my youngest child's 15th birthday present. It was an adventure race in Wisconsin just outside of Madison. Here the two boys are plotting our route. It was our first adventure race and we barely made it in before the cut off time and it was pretty fun. I'm really lucky my kids have always been adventurous - even with food, of which I worked really hard to only bring the highest of quality ingredients.
Now, they didn't always like what I'd experiment with. Sometimes they also had their own opinions about what they should be eating. For example, my older son said to me when he was four years old that the t-rex only eats meat and so does he. The skill of negotiation became an art for me. Of course, on the other hand my daughter who is the oldest told me at eight years old that she was a vegetarian. My t-rex was six at the time. My youngest was jus happy go lucky as long as it was good and good for you. Since he had a kidney syndrome from two years old, he needed to avoid things like red #40 and many unnatural ingredients, he learned to read ingredient labels since he could read at four years old.
Personally, I had been a vegetarian from eight to twenty four years old and vegan for seven of those years, but when I became a mother I decided I wanted my children to have choices. They were raised with vegetarian staples as well as various meat and other classic dishes.
While my children were little, we participated in mom and kid groups. They were pretty torturous, actually, for me, but I wanted the kids to be active. I will never forget one parent refused to negotiate vegetables or variety in her child's diet. The only thing the kid wanted was goldfish crackers. I warned her a few times that I didn't think that was healthy, but she couldn't assert her will or change her daughters mind about it. Eventually, the little one had to go in for surgery to unblock her colon. I was horrified. I knew another parent who had just as difficult of a time with her child in play .. which was not allowed ... because its dangerous. Yes, this part of my website is a food blog, but fitness and exercise and playfulness are definitely a part of overall health in my honest opinion.
So how did I get my t-rex to eat vegetables? What happened with my vegetarian? What did my youngest end up doing? Well, all of my kids participated in various adventure sports at their own pace and in their own time. My older son became more interested in balanced health in junior high and began asking for cookbooks and for certain recipes. Im not entirely sure he liked vegetables still, but logically he knew then that they were good for him so he began asking for them. My daughter, who was the healthiest and pickiest, started enjoying fast food and is now an omnivore. And my youngest still is a very conscientious eater as he is a conscientious eater. I'm not sure he still reads every label, but that experience heightened his awareness and he has no problem declining something that might be bad for his health.He also is probably the most vegetarian of the three of them, but is fully an omnivore as well - and this is a judgement free environment which goes both ways. We do live in Austin, Texas, you know - when vegans are as present as BBQ joints!
It is my hope that together we will learn and laugh and play and eat really, really good food.
Thank you for reading!
And, if you have a picky eater - don't give up. Just bring your game with all the love you have.