Before Max was diagnosed, we ate pretty well. As a super-busy family, like everyone, with a tight budget and two working parents, we ate as organic as we thought possible/necessary. We thought we offered variety. We thought we didn’t eat much sugar. Max’s diagnosis prompted us to concentrate on our food choices. As promised, I will write more about that in an upcoming post. Today I wanted to share a little encouragement. This picture is of Max’s sister enjoying broccoli before we had the opportunity to serve it at dinner last night. She hopped up to the kitchen counter, grabbed the entire head, and chowed down. Even a few weeks ago I wouldn’t have believed it. What happened?
After Max was diagnosed we focused on the way we eat with fierce intentionality. We researched, discussed, and forged a plan. Ours is moderate — it fits our needs and addresses our concerns with our son’s medical condition. One component of the plan is to include significantly higher ratios of fresh and raw veggies with each snack/meal. The other day at infusion Max was chowing on cukes and peppers for his snack and his doctors were blown away. Does he really eat veggies for his snacks? He does now.
We used to give up. We didn’t want to put food on their plates that would be wasted. We didn’t want to promote stress at the dinner table. We always provided veggies, but not necessarily in multiples, for example. When the kids hated broccoli we saw their distaste as insurmountable. They’ll just be typical kids who only eat a handful of veggies…oh well. Post-diagnosis we started to provide the veggies and select fruits with every meal. I read somewhere that it takes young kids anywhere from 10 to 60 bites before they enjoy a new food. Previously I would have given in by 10, but we persisted. We kept providing the green stuff especially.
Seven months later neither child enjoys visible kale, they will however try swiss chard in soup. Squash, sweet potatoes, and avocados are all awesome. They’ll eat veggies like seaweed, cukes, green beans, broccoli, and edamame solo. We’re on the road and now we’re trying with spinach. We keep offering it and now have the confidence that one day the light bulb will flash and spinach will be requested!
I’m writing this today to offer a ray of hope to all of you who struggle to get those kiddos to eat their veggies. I am not exclaiming that my kids are such advanced mini-foodies that they just love veggies. No, no! For us, it never worked like that. The real deal is that it’s hard, really hard, and there are plenty of opportunities to give up. It’s just been in the last few weeks with experiences like the broccoli-stealing last night that have brought my chin up and now I see the diligence is paying off. My kids do love veggies, now.
Quick tip offer veggies at dinner before anything else, when they’re really hungry!