RANT: Kids and Vegetables

I’m so tired of hearing “My kids don’t like vegetables”. Your kids didn’t slide out of the birth canal chanting your alumni fight song either, but you taught it to them!

So teach them to like vegetables.

If you don’t eat vegetables, your kids won’t eat vegetables. If you say ‘you HAVE to eat your vegetables to GET dessert’ you are teaching your kids that vegetables are something terrible and dessert is a treat.  Things we have to do are things we don’t want to do.  (I have to get a root canal, but we get to go to the beach; you have to fly coach, but you get to fly first class; you get the idea) So watch your words.

Vegetables help your kids’ bowels, help fight off infections and diseases, while desserts create sugar addicts, dental cavities and places them at risk for diabetes.  So…it’s your call.

Kids should have a fruit and vegetable at every meal.  And for snacks.

When you make their plate (or they make their own) put 5 carrots and 4 apple slices (or whatever F&Vs they are in to) and nothing else while you make the rest of their meal. Let them sit and eat what’s good for them while you finish making the grilled-cheese or organic chicken nuggets, etc.  Once they’ve finished their fruits and & veggies, then produce their main grub.

If your kids are already hooked on junk, let them dip the apples in peanut butter (natural PB of course) and it wont kill ’em to dip the carrots in ranch initially. Eventually, they will eat them raw.  Or keep giving them Doritos and hotdogs, and claim to care about their health.

Introduce your kids early-on to healthful eating. No HFCS, water and organic milk only, LOTS of fruits and vegetables, quality meat (try the natural Chick’n nuggets or organic mac n Cheese if you need an expeditious meal, or freeze a bunch of already cooked organic chicken strips and thaw them as needed).  And they shouldn’t think dessert follows every meal.

Sure most kids won’t eat a brussel sprout,  even if it meant free admission to Disney World. But you can find vegetables they will eat and continue to introduce them to more. Find appealing ways to prepare them and sneak them in to foods like pizza, smoothies and wraps.

Kids eat what their parents expose them to. So quit obsessing over what their next birthday party theme will be and start buying foods that are good to them.

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Madeleine Vanstory attended Duke University and began her post-graduate journey at The Elaine Clark Center working with special needs children. She went on to work as a Clinical Research Scientist running clinical trials for the CDC and developing medical devices for Welsh Allen, Abbot Labs, Roche and Johnson & Jonhson Her work included non-invansive cervical cancer detection, continuous diabetic glucose monitoring, non-harmful infant bilirubin level detection and studying Vitamin C's anti-aging effects on the skin. Madeleine attended Medical school at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and completed a residency in Family Medicine at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro NC. Dr. Madeleine Vanstory is a board certified Family Physician who has practiced all over the world. She has lead medical missions in Kenya and Honduras. She has participated with Operation Smile in Russia, she has patients in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and New Zealand. Dr. Vanstory has worked the medical tents in the Marine Corps marathon in Washington DC and at the Kona Ironman World Championships. And Dr. Vanstory has marched with the Surgeon General promoting "Exercise is Medicine" at the World Congress Sports Medicine Conference. Disillusioned by the current health care system and armed with the realization that culture, nutrition and emotional well-being have a profound impact on health, Dr. Vanstory now motivates clients and patients to discover the healthiest versions of themselves through humor, counseling in her "Upgrade Your Health" Wellness Program.

One thought on “RANT: Kids and Vegetables

  1. Right on, Maddy! Kudos to you for highlighting the fact that parents are not helpless, but in fact powerful, in the determination of their children’s eating habits.

    I read about a study of developing tastes for vegetables in children, and it said it took up to 17 exposures to a non-sugary food for a child to begin to like it. In other words, familiarity bred a taste for the food. But those first 16 times are crucial for the parent to move through before the child will accept the food into
    her lexicon. Hard work for any parent, but so good for the kid (eventually.)

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