Vegging Out With Your Kids
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Vegging Out With Your Kids

Sometimes vegging out is the way to go. I do it a few times a day. Eating vegetables that is. We are lucky, very lucky, that our son is a natural vegetable lover. We started him early so he was conditioned to know that the green and crunchies were part of our diet and he loved it from the early days. We are not vegetarians but believe that a bit of everything is balanced and healthy. I knew a lot of parents who were way ahead of me in the nutrition department so I thought that maybe I fell somewhere in the middle between total incompetence and vegan chef.

I did not feel like such a freak until I started packing my son’s lunch for school. I always worked so did not always have interaction with other parents, so I think I assumed that healthy lunches were the norm not the minority. Boy was I out to lunch. I remember chatting with a parent after pick up one day while the kids were in the playground. Like any self-respecting nutrition Nazi, I inspected his lunch remains to see if he had eaten everything. I found his veggie container and found myself saying, “He didn’t finish his broccoli”. One of the parents that I knew looked at me like I had three heads and said, “You put broccoli in his lunch?” Didn’t everyone?

That was an eye-opener for me, as naive as that sounds, but it made me more aware each time we had one of his friends over for dinner and there was the inevitable quizzical look from a young guest regarding what the heck was on their plate. Kale, broccoli and spinach are the Wholey Trinity around our house and it is not uncommon for my son to demand “More kale mummy!”, to which I am happy to oblige. So we are the lucky ones.

I know that not every family has the same luxury of having to make more greens to quell their child’s insatiable appetite for chlorophyll, raw or cooked, and I came across some info that was shocking to me. I have heard of, and practiced, the technique of incenting your kid to promote certain behaviours. But eating? A scientific study showed that kids would eat the veggies if they were paid. Really? Maybe I am the product of a strict upbringing, but paying a child to eat, anything, is ludicrous.

Maintaining a healthy diet is part of the parenting gig. If the job were that easy, we would pay our kids for every behaviour that they were not exhibiting to our satisfaction and we would all have perfect kids. Kids with fat wallets at that. When did such an asinine idea become an option? Sooner or later the children with half a brain will figure out that they can withhold performance until a monetary carrot is dangled in front of them. Seems like someone begging to be manipulated if you ask me. Frankly, our son is already spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get out of doing everything from homework to tidying his room, so I think I will keep our wallet closed and our son’s mind open. Open to the long, hard road of growing up which means taking on responsibilities and doing things that you may not feel like doing. Like eating your collards. Lucky for us, our green is both in his body, and our wallet.


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  about 6 years ago
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