There are certain times, as a parent, that you are forced to lie to your kids. Times in which you might not be completely forthright with your children for their own sake. An obvious example would be the Grand Poobah of all fibs, Santa Claus. Also in this category . . . The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, Buddy the Elf. The administration of these fables are ostensibly to allow them to live in a fantasy world of childhood for as long as possible. To experience the joy of magic in what they will all too soon discover is a very un-magical grown up world.
But besides that magical realm of mystery and fantasy, there are also practical reasons to obfuscate the truth when dealing with your children. And those times, at least in my home, are centered around food consumption.
THOSE ARE HERBS
My oldest son is a pretty picky eater. He doesn’t like a lot of things, and he is very hesitant to try new things. One of the foods that he has long ago decided that he dislikes is SPINACH. Not that it is abnormal for a kid to dislike spinach. I was not a fan of it when I was a kid either. Then again, the only variety that my family would serve was creamed spinach from a can, which was the most vile and metal tasting thing ever. Still not a fan. But in these days of healthy eating and fresh ready made convenience in our foods, buying fresh spinach is not only easy, but the norm in our home. However, when my son first tried spinach a couple years ago, fresh and sautéed, he decided that he hated spinach. It actually became a running joke. Anytime we would tease him about eating something, we would give him the choice between whatever it was he was “ewwww-ing” at the moment . . . or a big bowl of spinach.
Recently, we have come to realize that one of the few veggies he actually likes is salad. He will go to the grocery store, where they have a big salad bar, and want to make his own salad. And what we also realized was that the “lettuce” he was choosing, was actually . . . wait for it . . . spinach!! I was so happy that he was actually eating it, and enjoying it, that there was no way I was going to tell him that the dreaded and hated vegetable that he despised so much . . . was actually his favorite veggie to eat.
Once I realized he actually liked it, I started to incorporate it in some other dishes I served him. Of course, when he asked what that green stuff was, I couldn’t very well tell him it was spinach, or he would refuse to eat the meal. So, I had to come up with something that would fly. Hence, the creation of the lie.
Those are herbs.
Yep, all that little green stuff sprinkled on top of your pizza? Herbs. The green shredded pieces throughout the pasta dish? Herbs. All those little green things in the rice? Yeah, you guessed it. And you know what he readily eats and enjoys? Those herbs.
But the spinach in his salads is still “lettuce.” One day I will tell him. I just might wait until he’s in college. At least he’s eating vegetables, right?
ANGRY BIRD DIP
My youngest son is more adventurous when it comes to eating. He will usually try something if it sounds interesting. And he actually likes a far greater number of food items than his older brother. Case in point: he will eat spinach without the subterfuge. He actually likes spinach.
We have a Mexican night every few weeks, where the hubs and I prepare a huge mexican fiesta, complete with hard and soft tacos, grilled chicken and beef fillings, quesadillas, mexican rice, salsa & queso and chips. A few weeks ago, the hubs picked up a packet of guacamole mix and a couple avocados to make some quac. In order to get the kids to even try this green goopy looking stuff, he decided to rename it. ANGRY BIRD DIP.
Now, if you are new to my blog, let me explain. My youngest son is obsessed with Angry Birds. Every chance he gets, he is trying to grab his dad’s iPad to play the game. He has a ton of the Angry Bird plush toys, and a good deal of clothing and other items with those birds all over them. In fact, for his past birthday, the theme of most of his presents was decidedly Angry Birds.
Did I mention obsessed? Yeah.
So, the hubs’ idea was that if he called the guacamole Angry Bird dip, there would be a higher probability of my son’s sampling of it. And he was right. Not only did my son try it, but he liked it. I doubt he would have even considered it otherwise.
These are merely two examples of how the hubs and I use subterfuge to trick our kids into eating things that they otherwise wouldn’t even consider. Are we wrong to trick them this way? Does this make us deceitful and evil to hide the truth from our children? Hmmm, maybe. But I don’t think it’s doing them any harm. And they are benefitting from getting nutrients from very healthy foods they otherwise wouldn’t even think to eat. So, I don’t feel guilty in the slightest. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who fools her kids into eating healthy stuff. I mean, Jessica Seinfeld wrote an entire book about it. So really, I’m just being trendy, right?
How do you get your kids to eat their veggies? Any tricks you use to hide the true nature of the foods they eat?