The Evening News, June 11th
Deal With It!

Eating Books

The only vegetables Junior likes are potatoes, strawberries, and watermelon. Oh, and frozen blueberries.

Right. I know. Those last three. Are not.

You see the problem.

I'm always of the opinion that a good book can solve any dilemma. You'd think I'd be disabused of the notion by now. Please. No. I Believe in Books.

So, it is with happiness that I discover in the morning's New York Times an article about children's nutrition over the summer. (Not that the school diet of hot dogs, hamburgers, and bagels with cream cheese will be hard to replicate, mind you.) In her "Personal Health" column, Jane Brody writes,

A simple and beautifully illustrated new book by Steve Charney and David Goldbeck, The ABCs of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond, is one good way to interest youngsters in these most nutritious foods, which are readily available, and tastier, in the summer. Part 1 is a series of easy-reader alphabet poems about common and uncommon produce, from apples to zucchini and including (wild) xemenia for the “X” page. [I added the Powell's link because I like to see the books.]

Well, all right. There is hope.  If  Junior reads the right book, he will make healthier choices.

There is no hint of doubt in my voice. Please.

I suppose if by slim chance that remedy does not pan out, I can throw another book at him, or rather at myself. Brody also mentions this one:

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine. The book includes simple make-ahead purées or clever replacements that can greatly improve the way children eat — not to mention the rest of the family. [Powell's link added by me]

I've not read The Sneaky Chef, but I'm thinking the "make-ahead" is key. It could even be "make- ahead-and-hide-in-refrigerator-so-child-does-not-see," but I could be wrong. I bet one recipe involves kale. Just a thought.

But, as I said, I am hopeful. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


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I have a grandnephew who is a fussy eater. He loves frozen blueberries. Het eats them in a bowl with milk. Fortunately, blueberries are supposed to be very good for you--they're great anti-oxidants. I have a nephew, now twenty-seven, who rarely ate meat when he was young and was very particular about his diet. He grew up REALLY big and strong...and got a full scholarship to play football at the University of Maine.

Both my husband and I were problem eaters when we were young. Not so any more. I now eat just about everything but lima beans and fiddlehead ferns.

Have you ever read Lauren Child's picture book I WILL NEVER NOT EVER EAT A TOMATO? I bet Jubnior would get a kick out of it if he hasn't read it already.

About the veggie thing.

Be sure to offer junior various vegetables in at least three different ways (no, not recipes). But canned veggies taste very different than frozen, and frozen usually has a slightly different texture than cooked. Plus some folks will only eat veggies raw, whereas others will only eat them cooked (and sometimes, with sauce).

I mention it because my college boyfriend allegedly only ate corn, but when we were dating, he started eating lots of other things -- his mother only ever used canned veggies and it turned out he didn't like them. I have another friend who will eat canned peas and asparagus, but not fresh. Go figure.

Thanks for the tips, y'all.

We have a cousin who only ate chicken nuggets and Chips Ahoy as a kid, and he's a big grown healthy guy now, too.

I was heartened to learn recently that kiwi counts as a green vegetable. My son now eats one vegetable.

Not to be pessimistic, but no book on earth could help me get my picky eater to eat (plus he is able to give long lectures on nutritional needs and balanced diets. He's always been a theorist rather than a doer). What makes it worse is that he will politly try things, but never want to eat them again. Including things like chocolate cake.

One of the big reasons I finally decided to tackle the weeds in our yard and turn the land into garden spaces is because I hoped that, if we grew veggies, our daughter would be more likely to eat them. As it is now, she likes to eat the basil that's growing, but were we to put basil on her plate, she wouldn't touch it.

Charlotte, I did forget that Junior eats corn on the cob. (Maybe there are more than I thought.) Chocolate Cake--one of his favorites. He loves the sweets.

Alkelda, on-site basil is good! Junior will peel cucumbers happily but will never take a bite. I guess if the kind of ginger that comes with sushi could be considered a vegetable, that would add one more to Junior's list. Oh, and pickles. Forgot about those.

Another good book for this purpose is Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert. It didn't work with my son on the vegetable front, but he likes reading it!

I am in big trouble! Beacuse of our "summer schedule" of all-star baseball practices and games and dance recital rehersals, my kids have eaten worse SINCE being on summer break than when we are in school! I just finished Barbara Kingsolvers book, Animal, Vegtable, Miracle - it was a great book, but made me feel VERY guilty abut what my kids eat! Ah well, at least we have my youngest son's garden of veggies to look forward to (although only my youngest son and my husband and I will eat them!)

Ruth, Eating the Alphabet sounds good. I'm adding it to the library list.

Kathy, I so hear you. Reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" did a number on me, too. I was very inspired, but Barbara Kingsolver and her family worked so doggone hard, didn't they? I have a side garden that is overgrown by weeds, and the guilt that it induces when I walk by is awful. And the fact that I'm not using it in a sustainable-living way...

There is nothing like a good Chicken Recipe, Chicken is quite simply the best food in the world because of it's versatility. You can make thousands of chicken recipes and every one of them will be different and taste great. ENJOY!!

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