Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deceptively Delicious or Yes, I am Tricking my Children Into Eating

When you first start teaching, veteran teachers tell you to pick your battles with the students.  Be firm, consistent, and swift with broken rules that affect the learning of any one student.  Also know which 'rule bends' aren't worth the disruption to the class. (For example-The kids started wearing the bracelets that said "Boobies."  I ignored it, as it wasn't offensive and didn't disrupt learning as it would if I made a fuss over it.  Our new principal actually got on announcements a few days later and told the students they didn't need to be wearing bracelets that said boobies.  Naturally there was an influx in the amount of boobie bracelets the next day. I was momentarily tempted to wear one myself.)

Not the best battle to pick.

Parenting isn't unlike teaching in that regard, but I find that while they are this little, most battles have to be fought.  How else do they know what is proper, correct, accepted, etc?

The boys are not fans of vegetables.

At all.  (unless of course you count french fries)

E-Dude is by far pickier than his brother as far as food is concerned. Meals he loves one day he throws to the eager and anticipatory dogs the next.  It has become a BATTLE.  Obviously, I don't want to force feed them food, because that isn't the answer in the long term.  We constantly reintroduce food and attempt to come up with clever ploys designed to get the boys to eat those dreaded vegetables.

They seem to have a built in vegetable detector which allows them to circumvent any veggies with which they come into contact.  It is simply astounding to witness those normally clumsy fingers picking out vegetables with the dexterity of a neurosurgeon.

As a mom, and as a person who once WAS a vegetarian, I don't want to see the boys eschew vegetables like this for fear it will become a lifetime choice.  (Yes, I even like brussel sprouts, so this vegetable hating is killing me)  In a moment of sheer desperation, I shredded some carrots and mixed them in with the spaghetti sauce.

G-Man chowed it down like it was the last food on earth.

Cue the overhead light bulb.

They just MIGHT eat what they cannot see.  This strategic plan, however, caused me significant grief.  Mainly that I didn't want to 'trick' my kids into eating food.  Due to a deception on my mother's part, I was once fed frog's legs under the guise that the drumstick shapes on my plate were 'hen's legs.'  I can honestly attest to the validity of the cliche that frog's legs do indeed taste like chicken.  For several years following I was none the wiser until I remarked to my parents that I would NEVER eat frog's legs.

I can still hear my mother giggling as she asked me if I remembered the time I ate hen's legs.   Only they were not hen's legs. 

The distinct sense of betrayal I felt as a tween has stayed with me throughout my adult life.  I didn't want to have to resort to trickery to get my children to eat something.The alternative of children who refuse to eat vegetables wasn't appealing either.

I tried dousing vegetables in ranch dressing, or ketchup, or any kind of sauce that might encourage an actual bite of veggie.  In response, I got two little boys who love ranch and ketchup so much, they will lick it off the vegetables and discard said veggies as if they were merely utensils.  No intentional ingestion of vegetables to be found there.

The other night I tried the disguised vegetable trick again.  I shredded carrots and zucchini, mixed it with eggs, cheese, and breadcrumbs to make a pancake.  Next to the pancakes I gave them some ranch dressing.  Before I knew it, E-Dude had devoured 2 of the pancakes and was begging for more.   G-Man was only a few bites behind. (Cue Angelic Choir)

 They ate vegetables and they loved it, only they don't know it. In my mommy desperation, I had begun sprinting down a road I never thought I would travel. We will continue to put traditional vegetables on the plate, in hopes that one day the boys will decide they like them.  In the meantime,  I have also been sneaking spinach into fruit smoothies as a treat, and they beg for their 'juice.'

Let the games begin!


  1. I demand a retraction. I didn't do that to you, your grandparents did!!