Monday, April 30, 2012

How to get your children to eat their (wild) greens

Like most children, Eva is rather picky about her vegetables.  She actually eats a wide variety of them, but only a few bites at a meal, and I never know whether she'll be willing to eat them at that particular meal.  Vegetables in general are strongly flavored and oddly textured--making them exciting to an adult palate, but kids' taste buds are young and undulled and can taste much more strongly the nuances of the foods they are eating, making blander foods more exciting and bolder foods difficult to swallow.

But, like many parents, we have discovered a serious veggie turn on for Eva--picking them herself.  This works in the garden and even more dramatically in the wild.  She takes great delight and discovering a patch of wild greens herself and digging in.  She is particularly attracted to Canada mayflower and wood sorrel.  We have large patches of mayflower around the bases of the maple trees in our yard.  For these, Eva drops to all fours pretending to be a cow chewing her cud (great image, I know, but she refused to pose for me and I only got pictures of her cute little bum!). 

For the past two weeks, Eva and I have gone on daily hikes to the stream on our property.  Along the paths are great clusters of wood sorrel.  She will stop and nibble these for ten minute stretches, telling me she needs a tasty snack to keep up her strength for our hike.  And yes, like you, we have read the ubiquitous warnings in our field guides which always accompany information on wood sorrel's edibility about how it blocks calcium absorbtion.  But we've read up on this exensively.  It seems it would takes many cups of wood sorrel eaten daily for several weeks in a row to have any negative effect.  I would much rather her eat wild greens than Doritos--which have no warning labels.

So while our child will not touch spinach or lettuce of any kind, she readily devours many wild greens. 

1 comment:

  1. Lol! Foraging on all fours! That is an awesome image.

    Wild foods also provide a believable excuse for me to stop on a hike, too :P

    Without having to admit to others, or even myself, I'm getting tired and just need a short break...