Experts say kids should eat vegetables. And kids say experts should eat them! Meanwhile, here we are, mothers, caught in the middle of that crossfire, pulling out crazy tricks for children to eat vegetables. I’ve tried everything, even marketing tactics: I once dressed up as a VIP! (Very Important Pea). You may think it’s crazy… and it is… but, let’s see, I said to myself: a mascot always works. Well, it’s clear that, in this case, it didn’t: while Marie and Emma looked at me with a mocking look, David broke down in tears, heartbroken. I suppose he thought that the giant pea had eaten his mother.
Still, I’m convinced that marketing is the key – a technique that can sell a rubber doo-doo that smells like real doo-doo! That makes me wonder: when will a YouTuber praise vegetables and make children ask for them for Christmas? Imagine one of those girls that they like so much, that prescribe food and teaches them to eat everything. “Hi, friends, today I’m going to eat cauliflower.” Or, “Welcome to my channel. I’m gonna teach you how to make your own homemade cabbage.” Teaching them how to cook vegetables would really help, not that slime crap! And what’s that slime thing for? Anyway. Until they find a way for that to happen, I’m going to tell you some tricks to make children eat vegetables that have worked for me.
Tricks for children to eat vegetables (without realizing it).
- Deconstructed signature cuisine. Come on, the old-fashioned mashed potatoes. You cook the vegetables, put them in the blender, and the author (mom or dad), presses the button. Voilà! With the skill of a magician, we will make the shapes and textures disappear, two of the characteristics that generate rejection. Plus, swallowing costs less than chewing. As extra, mashed potatoes allow us to cover the bitter taste of many vegetables with other sweeter ones, such as potatoes, carrots or peas. Mashing everything is, of all the tricks for children to eat vegetables, the simplest and healthiest…
- Gastronomic alchemy. Turning lead into gold is possible. However, at the cost of more complex dressings or elaborations. Vegetables in tempura are usually liked. No one can resist frying! It is true that making them eat fried vegetables is like robbing Peter to pay Paul, but it is a way for them to gradually become familiar with the vegetables and accept them in other formats. However, cook them at home, no more frozen food. Bechamel sauce, tomato sauce or mayonnaise (homemade, please, that’s not so hard!) can turn a sad piece of cauliflower or a few listless green beans into a party – this one also works for adults!
- Get rid of the body. It’s about finding a way to hide vegetables. Be careful, because it’s not easy! There are three basic ways to dispose of a body: the first is to bury it, that’s pretty clear. Forget it, the vegetables will come out quickly. The second is to dismember it: chop up the vegetables so finely that they are practically invisible inside french tortillas, rice, or pasta. The third, dissolving it. No, don’t put the vegetables in corrosive acid. Making them disintegrate is as simple as pulling the mixer again. Purees, stew sauces with vegetables, smoothies, “enriched” bechamel… This is one of the riskier tricks for children to eat vegetables. If we are caught we will be under suspicion for the rest of our days!
- Marketing strategy. Starting with what you call things. When Emma was little, I started changing the name of vegetables: green beans sound green, period. Better to call them “strips” and let him play with them on her finger. ”Chunks in the soup” does not sound very attractive, how about “little boats”? Carrot cake wraps this vegetable in a halo of glory. And words such as “fried” or “breaded” place vegetables in VIP seats.
The other day, David was eating mashed zucchinis while Emma and Maria ate them in a batter. Everything was going suspiciously well… I had managed to please the children and the experts! I felt like the F****** Master of the Universe! Until my mother showed up. I knew, suddenly, that she would be harder to please. What are you eating, she asked. I knew it was NOT an innocent question. My most primitive senses were put on alert. “Oh, honey, really?” she reproached me, “how can you let David eat with his hands? You must give it to him! And the girls? It’s pure fat! Tell me, at least, that it’s olive oil!” “Yes, Mom”, I answered, “these are tricks I have for them to eat vegetables”. That’s when the Pandora’s box opened. “Tricks for kids to eat vegetables? Back in my day, if you didn’t eat them at lunchtime, you ate them for dinner or breakfast! What an idea! What’s next? Put a video of those YouTubers to watch others eat vegetables instead of them?”
I’m a mother, but that doesn’t mean I’m buying it all. Certainly not reproaches. And that’s it.