The Veggie Wars: What’s a Mom to Do?

Man cannot survive on peanut butter and jelly alone. At least that’s what I thought until my daughter was old enough for non-pureed food.

CeCe is 4, and her preferences at the dinner table are very clear.

No vegetables.

No red meat.

Salads must consist of at least 75% croutons.

Chicken must be served with ketchup, regardless of seasoning already on it.

Despite my best efforts at creative cooking, we often end up with the same rotation of pizza, nuggets or spaghetti, just to avoid arguments at the table.

This aversion to green is not unusual for young children – but I am a vegetable lover at heart.

Broccoli, asparagus, peas, green beans, and most anything green I can devour.

So raising a picky eater when I actually want the veggies is a challenge.

A picky eater raises some controversial questions. Do you just let it go and cook whatever the kid will eat?

Do you hide vegetables in her meals so she doesn’t know?

Or do you cook the veggies and take on the attitude of “You’ll eat it if you’re hungry enough”?

We’ve tried every strategy, and I still have no right answer.

I know that moms are divided on the subject, so my only takeaway is this: Do whatever lets you sleep at night.

Some days I lay down the law and insist, “This is dinner. Eat it or eat nothing.”

Other nights, I’m too tired to fight it and just break out the mac and cheese.

Maybe this sends a confusing message to my child.

But the line between causing a food complex and encouraging nutrition can be blurred for the parent of a toddler.

At the end of the meal, we just want them full and healthy.

The latest compromise we’ve tried with CeCe is “4 bites of veggies because you’re 4 years old.”

Maybe by the time she moves out of the house she’ll be eating the recommended portion of the food pyramid.