Our new strategy for getting the kids to eat vegetables is pretty easy. For us at least.
1. Everything goes on the plate. A little bit of something on every kid's plate.
2. You don't have to eat it. But it must be allowed on the plate. Not near it. Not on the napkin. Or flung across the room. On the plate.
3. No editorializing. No complaining about the food on your plate. This is perhaps my favorite piece because it applies to adults too.
4. You can run, but you can't hide. You don't even have to finish what's on your plate. But if you don't try the vegies, there will be no dessert (on week nights it's no bedtime cookie).
We were doing okay until the night I put broccoli on the kids' plates.
Olivia: Do you expect us to eat that?
Elizabeth: Why, yes, I do. I think you'll like it, Olivia.
Carter: I am not eating that.
Olivia: Me either. I'm not eating that.
Elizabeth: Okay. But no ice cream for dessert.
Carter: That is not fair.
Elizabeth: I know. Here you go.
Carter: (sobs, if he could run and hide from it, he would) I am not eating that!
Elizabeth: Are you afraid of broccoli?
Elizabeth: You're afraid of broccoli? What will happen if you eat broccoli? You think you'll explode?
Carter: (pouts and laughs) Yes!
Olivia: (sobs) I want ice cream.
Elizabeth: Then you need to try the broccoli.
Olivia: I wish I was a toy so I didn't have to eat broccoli.
Elizabeth: They look like little trees. (I know! Who has this ever convinced!) Try it.
Olivia hesitantly takes a bite. Screams. Spits it out.
Carter: I am not eating that!
Elizabeth: Then there won't be any ice cream.
Carter: I'm done.
Elizabeth: You're not going to eat your spaghetti?
Olivia: Me neither.
Elizabeth: Why not? You don't like the broccoli. That's no reason you can't eat the rest of your food.
Carter: I don't want to eat. Can I be excused?
Elizabeth: Okay. But there won't be anything later.
Olivia hangs on thinking she'll convince me. Eventually Roger and Marshall leave the table. It's just me and Olivia left.
Olivia: Mommy? I'm hungry.
Elizabeth: There's spaghetti. And broccoli.
Olivia: I can't eat that!
Elizabeth: But you can have strawberry ice cream after.
Olivia: I can't eat it!
Elizabeth: How about you just try a small one?
Olivia: No! (pause) Okay. (takes a nibble)
Roger returns with Marshall (who's now in his jammies).
Olivia: Daddy! I'm eating broccoli!
Roger: That's so great, Olivia.
10 minutes later.
Carter: Can I have some ice cream?
Elizabeth: Did you eat any broccoli?
Elizabeth: I'm sorry. No dessert.
Olivia: I love broccoli! Can I have more?