How Not To Gag On Vegetables

There is only one picky eater in our family. It's astounding the things this child believes he doesn't like: any dried fruit, all berries, all vegetables except for carrots, asparagus, and broccoli. Considering how often kale, bok choy, cabbage, salad, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and any and all dried fruits and berries make it into our regular menu lineup, lack of exposure is not at the root of Number 2's food fetishes. However, because we've held firmly to the rule that all things served at the table must be consumed at some quantity, our picky 6 yr. old has developed the art of embracing the vegetables before him, and consuming them without visible displeasure. Amazing, I know.

I recently asked him how he learned not to gag while eating vegetables. We compared notes, and thought we'd share our lists with you:

Number 2's Guide to Not Gagging:

1. Eat the vegetables first. 2. Pretend that it's chocolate. 3. Tell yourself, You can do it! 4. Have your drink ready. 5. Chew your food. You gag if you don't chew. 6. Celebrate and high-five your brothers, while shouting victoriously, "I didn't gag! I didn't gag!"

Mom's Guide to Not Gagging:

1. Put some effort into making vegetables taste good. (I don't mean only french fries and scalloped everything either...) See recipe below: 2. Encourage your child to eat the vegetables in combination with other flavors on the plate, as was intended by Chef Mom. 3. Cut vegetables into reasonable bite-sizes. 4. Say to your child, Do not gag. (I know that sounds silly, but really, you can help him set the expectation that he can mentally prepare to NOT gag.) 5. Use discretion: Set a consequence for gagging and other distasteful displays of anti-veg. 6. Don't beg, coax, or bribe. Reward, sure, but don't bribe. If you expect your child to eat his vegetables, just say so, and follow through. 7. Celebrate and high-five your kiddo, while shouting victoriously, "You didn't gag! You didn't gag!"

Wilted Asian Spinach Salad

several bunches of spinach, washed soy sauce rice wine vinegar sesame oil pinch of sugar

Bring a big pot of water to boil. Turn heat off, and place spinach in hot water. Using tongs or slotted spoon, remove spinach after it is completely submerged and just wilted--not cooked. Drain in colander, and immediately run cold water over spinach. Squeeze water out of spinach and place in serving bowl. Add two teaspoons of vinegar to every one teaspoon of soy sauce to taste. Drizzle lightly with sesame oil. Add a pinch of sugar, and toss. Chill until served.