Meet Lieutenant Dan. He’s mean, he’s green and (believe it or not) he is a vegetable machine. NO really.
Lieutenant Dan is my (not so) secret weapon in the fight to get vegetable into my VEGETARIAN son.
My soon to be 3-year-old has never been a fan, but I don’t know a whole heap of toddlers who are. My daughter took some warming up when she was around 2 and seemed to fall for the “look, broccoli are mini trees and corn is treasure” trick. She eats enough different types of vegetables for me not to have to worry about it. The Monster on the other hand is so terrible that we have to ensure we create a hidden veggie sauce at least once a week in the hope that’ll be enough. Oh, and he pretty much eats veggies at nursery 2 days a week. Mostly.
So about a year ago the kids got these parachute soldiers in a party bag and once the strings got tangled, we were all set to chuck them and left them on the dinner table. We were sitting down to dinner and The Monster was yet again eating all the beige, low nutrition items on his plate and ignoring the colourful vegetables, so I grabbed one of the soldiers and started a little show as the soldier started chanting “Must eat the peas. Must eat the peas”. Lo and behold when I pierced a pea with the bayonet/rifle and brought it up to TM’s mouth he hate it with glee. He then started shouting “More. More”.
And so, for a week. I was able to feed him peas and corns, provided I was up for the puppet show, the voice, the enthusiasm and the time to sit next to him to feed them one by one.
Then we lost the soldier. For a time we made do with a plastic figurine of Sebastian (the lobstery thing from The Little Mermaid), who, with his many legs, was able to have more peas in one piercing but his legs started wobbling and we lost a few and TM lost interest in him. The pea and corn eating stopped.
You can no imagine my utter delight when sorting out the new sofa we found the soldier again on Sunday. We were eating a roast dinner with peas and corn that night so out he came. A new name was attached to him (not very creative I know) and he started barking orders at TM about eating peas and corn. Which he was very happy to do, but wouldn’t accept the broccoli. Oh well.
Of course it’s not just the voice and the barking of orders that TM like. He likes being called “Soldier” or “Private” and when he’s done well, Lieutenant Dan gives him a high-five which is TM’s opportunity to knock him for six across the table. Causes much hilarity as he dusts himself off and grumbles about it.
Thought I’d introduce to you the one thing that has managed to get a recognisable vegetable pass my nearly 3 year olds lips. No mean feat.
What tricks and gimmicks do you use to get your toddler’s to eat a vegetable? I’m up for trying anything. Next stop, Broccoli and carrots.