If you’re feeling frustrated and discouraged by your child’s refusal to eat his greens, I thought this article might prove enlightening – specifically, the part where they tell us:
Infants have around 30,000 taste buds spread throughout their mouths. By the time we hit adulthood, only about a third of these remain, mostly on our tongues. So eating is an intense experience for the very young. No wonder nursery food is traditionally bland.
Children don’t tend to lose their extremely sweet teeth until puberty. The reason they often don’t eat their greens could be that the bitter notes in them are amplified by so many taste buds. And as we keep pairing flavours with experiences and forming prejudices, by the time children’s palates are more accepting of vegetable flavours they are negatively associated with parental nagging – an altogether different mood to that of the fun occasions when sweet treats are bestowed.
Okay, so that doesn’t really answer the problem of getting kids to eat their veggies – aside from hiding them in their food. What can we do about it? Apparently, the key to getting kids to eat their veggies lies in what you serve your veggies with. Most of the time, the other food alongside our veggies are stiff competition because they’re too tasty. If you serve your veggies along with other less tasty food, it will increase the likelihood of the veggies being eaten. The best thing to do, however, is to serve the veggies on their own before serving anything else.
Many years ago when I was vegetarian, I noticed this. Vegetables started to taste better because I was no longer eating meat. When I started eating meat again, the vegetables lost their appeal. So perhaps that’s what we need to do – veggie starters.