We, my daughter, my husband, and I, were wandering past the dumpling restaurant in our very nice local mall when I overheard this question being asked by a dad to the two year old tucked into his arms.
My immediate reaction… hide the huge bowls of ice cream we were engulfing. Guilty mom complex had kicked in. I had just spent twenty minutes trying to get my twelve year old to eat vegetables in the fried form of tempura, and had been happy when she had eaten two string beans. Seriously! Two string beans. And I don’t even think of her as a picky eater.
But it is really hard to compete with the fried potatoes, sodium filled California Rolls, and pork dumplings passing by on the conveyor belt. Granted, the California rolls at least had some avocado in them. But still.
I’ve watched moms do all kinds of crazy things to get their kids to eat veggies. Shakes made of spinach. Meatloaf made from kale. Even chocolate chip cookies with yam in them. I’m the last to judge because in a lot of cases those recipes actually worked for them. I don’t think my heart was in it when I tried them, though. They never cut muster with my family.
It’s extra difficult because I’ve tried not to fall back on the familiar ‘eat your dinner and you can have dessert’ phrase. Parent nutritionists have pointed out that linking the two things together only increases the tempting power of dessert. It is so ingrained in me to do this, however, that I’m like a losing contestant on Jeopardy when I’m confronted with the words coming out of my mouth… like I just hit the button before I knew the answer, and now I have no idea what to say. “Um, never mind. There’s no dessert tonight anyway, honey.” Sure… Except, she always knows there’s that tub of ice cream sitting in the freezer; a solid back-up if I haven’t made or bought anything else.
And, now that I think about it, as my daughter hits puberty I’m not sure if any of us are prepared to give up dessert. The good news is that supposedly avocado helps with PMS symptoms. So at least she’ll be getting something green in her diet alongside the Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.