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The Herbivore vs. the Carnivore: Getting My Son to Eat Vegetables

I liked the idea of cooking with my 4-year-old. He is a very good eater but he does not like vegetables ... so I tried to change that.

Recently I read an article on how to get your kids to eat their vegetables.

The article suggests having your children pick vegetables out at the grocery store and then cook them with you. It concludes that this process will magically convince your kid to eat the vegetables they have cooked.

I liked the idea of cooking with my 4-year-old. It would be good for him to knowingly eat better, and it would make me less annoying because, like a parrot, I am constantly saying, “You need to eat your veggies to grow big and strong.”

He always replies with his patented phrase, “I DOOO eat vegetables. I eat carrots.”

His one and only vegetable.

So I go to the , by myself, very enthused to add some new vegetables to our palate. If you'll notice, I have already broken the first rule of the article. I picked out our new vegetable myself.

So what do I choose, for our first try?  

Before I tell you, let me give you some excuses. You see, a friend has been telling me for the last couple of years that she could eat this vegetable every night, it is so good. And I do have to say, that I have been eating the heck out of some vegetables I never liked before just because they are roasted. Roasted rutabaga, roasted carrots, roasted broccoli. (And roasted garlic with a whole . Does that count?). This is what led me to believe; maybe if I roast it, this vegetable will be super yummy too.

So I choose … Brussels sprouts.

What? You are probably saying to yourself. What a fool! Why would she pick such a vegetable?

I am asking myself the same question.

But our culinary adventure begins very positive. I get my son to wash the Brussels sprouts and help me cut the tough ends off. We smash garlic cloves. He stirs in the olive oil. He adds the kosher salt and pinch of pepper. He is giddy and saying we are making vegetable cake.

“I will like it,” he says. “I will like it.” 

Score, I think while noting a small voice in the back of my head that is still questioning: Why start with Brussels sprouts?

Our dinner for the night consists of Caesar salad, roasted Brussels sprouts and sautéed chicken. My 2-year-old eats only the Brussels sprouts and the salad. My 4-year-old eats only the chicken.

Finally the moment we have all anticipated. I get myself a heaping plate of Brussels sprouts. I cut a small piece for my 4-year-old. “OK. Ready?” I ask like we are about to jump out of a plane together.

We put the Brussels sprouts in our mouths. In slow motion, I see him gag but he keeps chewing. He gags again, and ahhhhhh, he throws up his whole dinner.

I jump up. Grab his plate. Rinse it off. So much for that.

In hindsight his dramatic response should not have been a shock. I vividly remember a similar incident when my father demanded that I try a chicken gizzard. I can still taste the musty, crunchy organ … and well, you know the ending. Of course, I was 13, not 4 when it happened.

I became a vegetarian the next day.

But still, it caught me by surprise this morning when I saw my son's Facebook Jr. status. It simply read: CARNIVORE.

If you like Pen Name Jane, please check us out on the real Facebook.

Heather November 09, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Too funny! I guess some are for veggies and others are not. Glad I'm not alone!
Tracy Jasnowski November 09, 2011 at 02:56 PM
Roasted cauliflower with balsamic vinegar and Parmesan!!
Chris Sansbury November 09, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Yum! I will try that.
Jennifer Harrington November 09, 2011 at 10:09 PM
My husband (he has gone vegan) ate some for breakfast last week and let's just say the smell had me doing the same thing your 4 year old did!

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