Bound to get a roasting... vegetable-related AIBU?(43 Posts)
On Facebook last night, I stumbled upon a post I cannot really understand. I mean, I obviously DO understand it. But I'm sad that people live like this.
A middle aged lady in the USA posted the following:
"So, I have never really tried very many vegetables. I just was never offered them when I was little, and so I assumed I didn't like them. Yesterday I tried asparagus for the first time...it's amazing. What other vegetable deliciousness have I been missing out on? I don't like cooked broccoli, but I will eat it raw. I like carrots, cooked and raw.
Tl;dr: what are your favorite vegetables?"
In the UK I'd like to kids don't grow up never having tastes vegetables. AIBU to think this? Or am I incredibly naive? If I AIBU, what can we do to fix this?
I think our 5 a day message gets through quite well in the UK.
Alas it is a reality in the UK too.
We have friends (intelligent, seemingly sensible people) whose teenage sons have never eaten vegetables because their parents didn't think they'd like them. Two boys: one eats salad (iceberg, tomato, cucumber), one eats fruit. No greens, nothing made from scratch: if it doesn't smell of MSG it 'doesn't taste of much'.
In all other respects this family is completely normal, just the food thing is bizarre. It isn't that the kids had particular issues when small, just they were only fed the things they wanted the first time for ease.
Um, feed them lots of different vegetables? Or do you mean more systematically, for all children?
On the whole I think the main thing holding many children back from trying different things is their family. Schools help a bit both with lunches and home ec classes (whatever they're called now) and then, you try things by going to other people's houses, restaurants and travelling.
Of course being open minded helps. I find the 'assuming I won't like things I've never tried' as weird as 'assuming people from anywhere other than my village are horrible'. Similarly closed-minded, prejudiced and insular. That attitude would seem to be the problem.
Fruit and veg is much cheaper here than in the states whereas fast/convenience food is pretty cheap over there in my experience (McDonald's dollar menu and huge portions in restaurants). I suppose if you have a family to feed on a tight budget then cheap junk food may seem like the only option for some...
Her wording implies that she didn't get a huge variety of vegetables rather than she wasn't given any at all. I don't think that's hugely surprising. The more exotic stuff was much more expensive when she was younger and some things that are completely ubiquitous now (broccoli, baby corn, asparagus, sugar snap peas, baby spinach) weren't then. Vegetable availability was much more seasonal too as stuff wasn't flown half way round the world so much and there was much less stuff grown year round under plastic.
I am 40 and pretty much grew up on cauliflower, carrots, peas and green beans (and sweetcorn although I hate it) plus salad veggies.
I think the op means more of a systemic change for less privileged children Lottie.
It's very strange but fresh vegetables are extortionately priced in the states, from what I've heard. A friend of mine didn't realise you could buy non-canned baby corn I didn't realise you could even buy it canned!
This is a slight tangent: but I went into my local Tesco express the other day before an exorcise class. And thought ooo i fancy an apple. 65p for a singular apple! There was on offer on thw confectionary isle of 3 sweets/chocolate bats for £1.20. So it is unsurprising why some people would choose the cheaper treat. This sort of thing extends to all sorts of foods, junk food and ready meals/ treats are always on special offer. I never personally see many cheap deals for fruit and veg.
I'm sure there see plenty of British kids whose childhood is almost vegetable free. My nephew, whose parents were drug addicts and who spent much of his teenage years in care, didn't eat vegetables until his 20s. I am absolutely sure that this is not an isolated case.
The best way of getting kids to eat a wider range of vegetables is to have continental style school lunches (salad, main course and fruit or cheese) with no packed lunch alternative.
My MIL offered her neighbour (30s, two young children) some courgettes and runner beans from her garden and was told 'Urgh, no thanks. We all hate green vegetables!'
Also, regarding point about the range of veg we give to our kids ... Children do seem to have a natural dislike for some veg that only changes as their tastebuds mature. My teenager has only recently started eating mushrooms and won't touch asparagus (and she eats loads of veg) - her younger brother would literally rather starve than eat a dish containing mushrooms.
Actually, I have a friend who only ate porridge, sausages and mash or pizza for the first 20 yrs of his life. And a housemate at uni who was stunned to see me eat fruit every day and he started buying some fruit too after that. He said he absolutely never had fruit at home. And very rarely had any veggies.
So I think it's very prevalent in the UK too.
I'd like to think that the next generation have much more access to different varieties of vegetables, as we can get them all year round, and overall the cost is lower than when I was growing up.
In reality, I suspect there is a large discrepancy, and whilst children from middle class backgrounds may have access to a wide range of fruit and veg, families on lower incomes are likely to have a far smaller choice of fruit and veg at home.
I think what is normal for some is not for others. We have fruit and vegetables every day, and whilst I would like to think this is the case for everyone, I.know it isnt.
I think a big part of this is down to being exposed to these food items regularly and even if DD says she doesnt like something,I wouldnt then write that item off forever - which I think a lot of people do.
Cost is a factor and time - the cheapest place to buy fruit and veg is the greengrocer, however these items just dont have as long a shelf life as the pricier fruit amd veg from the supermarket. I wpuld rather buy my fruit from the GG but od have to go three times a week. If I buy itfrom Tesco its more once a week/ten days.
At my dc's school the infants get a free vegetable snack at break time (isn't that a national thing?). It's great because they try new things and develop the habit of eating vegetables as a snack. I remember one massively popular snack was eating peas straight from the pod. I think the government would have more impact on kid's health if they scrapped free meals for infants and gave all kids in full time education under the age of 18 free fruit and vegetable snacks.
I'm pretty sure the 5-a-day got through to most people I knew growing up in the US. But a lot of people are just rubbish at maintaining a healthy diet, especially when there's no time and the unhealthy stuff is cheap and easy.
When I met my partner he ate iceburg lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, onions, tinned tomatoes, apples, pears and bananas. That's it!
He never had home cooked meals as a child.
I've managed to reprogramme him!
the trouble with year-round everything is that people think that stuff is tasteless, as well as looking perfect. Just because you can get imported tomatoes in January doesn't mean that you should buy or eat them.
the expectation that veg will last ten days (unless it is something like potatoes or onions) is also wrong.
you can have taste and nutrition, but you can't necessarily have convenience and perfect appearance. We need to learn what to prioritise - until we do, the supermarkets will keep feeding us tasteless pap.
although even that is better than junk.
turning down freshly grown veg? Unspeakable?
Honestly, that post could have been written by me.
My parents stopped giving me vegetables from about the age of 5 because I'd have huge tantrums and make myself sick if they were even on my plate.
I went to boarding school at 11 so nobody paid attention to what I ate.
I didn't eat a single vegetable between the age of 5 and 23. I am now slowly trying them. I can eat iceberg lettuce, broccoli and cucumber. I have tried carrot and hated it, and not tried anything else yet. It's almost like a phobia and is very hard for me to try new veg!
A friend of mine (a 30 year old lawyer!) only eats plain burgers, chips, dry chicken and cheese and tomato pizza. He will occasionally eat something else but it has to be completely plain. He has NEVER tried salad, doesn't eat a single vegetable or any fruit. He is from a household of educated people but apparently they have never made him try them as he has never liked them?!
My dh didn't eat/like vegetables when we met, because his mum cooked/cooks them to death. Now the only veg he won't eat is white cabbage.
The funny thing is MIL moans that our DC won't eat veg, they do at home they/we just hate hers. For example she puts her veg on when she put the potatoes into roast. No vegetable with taste good that have been cooked for 45 min plus.
apparently they have never made him try them as he has never liked them?! How does he/they know whether he likes them if he hasn't tasted them.
My best friend doesn't eat any fruit at all, she didn't used to eat veg either but has got better at that recently. Pretty wealthy and educated upbringing but I think they stopped bothering trying to give her any of them and now she can't abide the texture.
Sadly I think it's more common than you'd (like to) think. The phrase 'you won't like it' is one of the things I hate most being said to a child. Let them make their own minds up ffs. And offer things again and again and again, usually it just takes time.
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