Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

You Can Give a Child Asparagus, But…

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They say that children’s taste for foods is acquired in utero, and that by offering your children a variety of healthy foods at an early age they will grow up to enjoy eating healthy foods. But there’s also another saying: you can lead a horse to water, but… or in this context, you can give a child asparagus, but.

When it comes to offering healthy food, try, and try, and try again.

When I get home from work the number one thing on my mind is what I’m going to make for dinner. Sure, it needs to be quick, but it should also be healthy, somewhat fun and filling. And now that there are four mouths to feed that is becoming increasingly difficult.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, Schmee, I’ll admit that we ate a lot of delivered pizza, but we also ate healthy, home-cooked meals. So, why won’t Schmee eat what is served to him every night? Why won’t he try the pork shoulder I smothered with love as it smoked on the grill for 13 hours? Why won’t he even taste the asparagus sautéed with onions and mushrooms, lightly oiled with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly grated pepper? He’s always been this way, no matter what we’ve offered.

He’ll eat broccoli, but I long for variety. I don’t even want to tell you how many pounds of mashed potatoes I made this past week. What am I going to do with my little Schmee and his limited pallet?

At least there’s hope for Sweet Pea. What a relief to see that she will eat just about anything you put in front of her, and she’s so cute when she tries something new. She stares at it with penetrating eyes, looks at me for affirmation that it is for eating before taking a little dab at the lip and then (usually) popping it into her mouth. I love the puckering, inquisitive look she makes as she tries to discern the unique flavor compounds she is experiencing. Not everything is a winner, but at least with Sweet Pea’s tastes, there are more winners than losers.

I understand that each child is different, and that Schmee may come around later. Yet as an involved and discerning parent, I feel compelled to want my children to eat and eat well. I’m just hoping that this horse eventually takes a drink.

One thought on “You Can Give a Child Asparagus, But…

  1. My kids love my homemade chicken soup and as the years have gone by I’ve added different vegetables that they once refused to eat like beets, zucchini, spinach, and so on. I also give them raw veggies to snack on before dinner when they’re getting hungry and sniffing around the kitchen and those veggies disappear like a magic trick. It’s amazing how much satisfaction a parent can achieve by getting their kid to eat vegetables.