Apparently kids love vegetables and you’re just a terrible parent

Illustration for article titled Apparently kids love vegetables and you’re just a terrible parent
Photo: SbytovaMN (iStock)

According to a new study in The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, children are more likely to eat vegetables if they’re offered a wider selection of vegetables to choose from. According to me, a culinary professional who also happens to be the mother of two adolescent boys: HAHAHAHA ohhhhh man that’s cute.


Of the many, many, many things being a parent has taught me, it’s that kids aren’t dumb. Sure, they may look dumb, but just because they’ll lick a subway pole for no discernible reason or “accidentally” pour glitter on a cat doesn’t mean that they’re not clever little gremlins who will always remain one step ahead of you. So while the scientific community has conducted numerous studies which imply that children actually love vegetables and you’re just a shitty parent, they have never accounted for the fact that children will eat anything—provided it’s given to them by a complete stranger.

This is why the proverbial candy is so effective at getting them into the proverbial van—they’ll eat whatever you give them, no questions asked, just as long as you are not their parent. Your children could eat an entire platter of heirloom corn while staring an adult dead in the eye if it’s being fed to them in a laboratory setting and then, when you, their parent, make it for dinner, they’ll claim to have never even heard of corn; brand you a liar for saying they ever liked it; and declare that now they’ll never be able to eat corn because it stings of your lies.

If you’d like to convince yourself to spend a ton of money on vegetables that you know you’re just going to end up throwing out, you can read the full study here.

Allison Robicelli is a writer, recipe czar, former professional chef, author of four (quite good) books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Tweet me for recipe help: @Robicellis.


E=MC Hammered

I realize my anecdotal experience is not indicative of anything and that those individual results are skewed by my superior parenting skills, but my kids love vegetables. I have no problem getting them to eat them. They also love to help garden and eat them as soon as they’re picked. I think a big part of it is (as the study suggests) giving them plenty of veggie options—particularly when they are very young—so they can develop a taste and understanding for what they like, and preparing them in ways that are flavorful.

But then my kids have always been “weird” when I comes to food. I never cooked separate food for them than what I was eating (my sister still brings it up years later that when she was visiting and her kids were 3 and 5 (mine where 4 and 6 at the time, so not much older) I didn’t make something separate for the kids and expected her kids to eat salmon, Brussels sprouts, and quinoa) and always tried to avoid the chicken strips/grilled cheese/hot dog/french fries world of kids menus and have them order off the regular menu when we eat out. My 9-year-old was delighted this summer to finally get to try escargot and regularly eats stuff like dehydrated crickets, etc.