During the last few months I have eaten more vegetables and fruits, but I realized my kids were not doing the same. The last few weeks I have tried to get my kids (aged 10 and 7) to eat a larger variety of foods. They need to learn that quesadillas and pizza are not the only food to eat. The bright spot in my food day occurs at dinner when the kids are given a new food to taste. A few weeks ago I tricked them by cutting up jicama and putting it in a bowl. I just said, “Try this.” They picked the white cubes from the bowl and ate away. Then they asked, “Is this an apple?”. Thinking it was a weird tasting apple was better than having them spit it out immediately or never try it all.
Some of the other food tastings were not as successful. Today’s food was green beans (also known as string beans). I thought beans were pretty benign. I was surprised when my youngest treated the food like a play toy instead of just biting into you. She pushed it around the plate eventually squishing and smashing it until little beans popped out. She said, “These look like lima beans?”. I was shocked she knew what lima beans were (happily shocked I might add). Eventually she put one of the tiny beans into her mouth. I can’t say she liked it, but she didn’t barf it back onto her plate.
Once my son saw the fun that his younger sister was having getting the beans opened, he grabbed another bean to see how many small beans he could find. Somehow the tasting had turned into an experience. No longer was this about food, it was about learning, experimenting and creativity. After splitting one of the green beans open, my son filled it with other foods from dinner to create his own bean sub. You have to give the kid points for creativity! We took some photos of his plated bean dish (like it was Iron Chef). We didn’t have any judges for the dish, but I promised I would write a blog about it.
How the evening ended was even more surprising. My son wanted to watch a video about growing green beans. We watched how to build a bean teepee as well as several instructional videos about how to prepare and grow beans. While my daughter grabbed the computer and began watching gymnastics videos, I realized my son had disappeared and the outside patio light was on. I couldn’t imagine what he could be doing outside in the dark. I found him outside carefully preparing soil for his beans. He had extracted some tiny beans and was planting them in a yogurt cup filled with seedling soil. Sometimes when you feed kids vegetables you just don’t know what is going to happen. In this case it seems we will be growing green beans. Maybe when you grow your own food, there is more interest in eating it. I just hope by the time the beans ripen there is someone besides me willing to eat them.