Unbelievably, toddlers willingly eat veggies!


The other day, a mommy friend of mine echoed an ancient parental frustration: "My kids only eat chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese."

My boys love mac and cheese too, so I understand the magnetic pull of grabbing a box of Annie’s nearly every day.

Ah, Photoshop…

Astonishingly, my kids do eat veggies. In fact, when I brought in yet another zucchini from the garden for lunch they yelled delightfully, in unison, “Zoo-keen-eee!”
Now, I don’t think my kids are omnivorous paragons but I do think they benefit from having a close relationship with their food (and I’m not talking about mashed potatoes in the ear canal). Pierce and Judah both helped plant carrots, peas and lettuce in the spring, helped transplant tomatoes and pull weeds from the squash in the summer and feed the chickens and bring their eggs inside (well, they try).

Pierce helping to plant carrot seeds in early spring

I’ve watched them spend hefty amounts of time plucking mulberries from tree branches and carefully looking for strawberries in the raised patch. I’ve had concerned neighbors tell me that they saw the boys “put something in their mouths from off of that plant” when I’ve gone inside to get the laundry. One afternoon, they pulled up, and actually ate, about a dozen radishes leaving only their leafy stems strewn about the grass.

Cooperative peach picking!

Of course, they are still kids with strong, seemingly irrational preferences. “I don’t like apples!” Pierce tells me. “Nooo.” Judah whines when offered green pepper slices (his favorite until last week).

As they grow and their preferences develop, my hope is that my sons will continue to maintain a relationship with their food. Whether knowing the names of the cafeteria workers at their school or planting a melon seed at home, being aware of their connectedness is fundamental to a life well-lived.

Proof! (That’s Eppie’s broccoli in that maw)

Do you have any “eat your veggies” tricks?