Before I became a father, culture and society had drilled it into my head that you had to bribe kids to get them to eat vegetables. Fortunately, with our son on the way, I forgot about all of this — and accidentally tricked him into wanting to eat vegetables and salad greens.
The unconscious, devious plan actually started before little Joseph was born …
My wife and I would go to the organic market and pick out our vegetables and greens, while rubbing her belly and talking about what we were picking out. He was indirectly eating what she was, so we figured we’d talk about what we were eating.
My wife and I would both drink a green drink every day, too: a mix of scores of organic green grasses, vegetables, roots, and herbs.
When Joseph was born, we continued to eat this way. And now little Joseph was coming to the market with us — seeing, holding, and touching the vegetables. As he approached two, and began wanting to really start doing things with me, I’d ask him, “Do you want to go make some salad with Daddy?”
He said, “Yes.”
So we went into the kitchen, and I had him grab some lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, avocados, olive oil, plus a mix of vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper.
Remember, these were the same ingredients he helped me pick out from the organic market. The same vegetables that he'd seen since he was born. He knew what they looked like, and he knew their names.
I let him hold my forearm as I cut up the vegetables and mixed the salad.
And next? Well ...
This devious plan to trick my son into wanting to eat salad and vegetables worked.
The funny thing was it was so darn easy to do. My wife and I exposed him to organic vegetables and juices in the womb by eating them. When he was born, we continued eating organic vegetables and juices, and shared these with him early on. We took him to the organic market and let him pick out the vegetables with us. We got him involved with preparing the salads and meals. In the end, it's as simple as saying my son enjoys doing things with his father.
If you have children, you know what I'm talking about.
Your young children just want to be around you and do things together. It doesn't matter what it is. Some things are about quality time in life, but with children it's quality and quantity. So it's really not difficult to see why my son enjoys eating vegetables and salads. He just wants to do what daddy's doing, what mommy’s doing.
And I'm sorry. Using the old, “Mommy and Daddy can eat and drink this, but you can’t,” only works with a few things, like sipping some wine or enjoying a glass of beer occasionally around them. You can't overdo those in front of kids either. That’s a seed that will take root in their minds.
So the trick that I used to get my son to want to eat vegetables and salad is one that anyone can use.
You have to eat the talk. It starts and ends with you. And doing that will be healthier for everyone.
Having kids want to do things versus trying to force them to do things means your life is so much easier …
And so much easier means so much less stressful.