Secret Weapon in the Vegetable Wars
Do your children joyfully eat up all their vegies and love to fill their lunchboxes with healthy slices of fruit? No, mine either. Posy, in particular thinks fruit in lunchboxes is nasty. Even though I put a frozen ice block in her insulated lunchbox, apparently it is warm by lunchtime, so it comes home again. Even frozen blueberries are nasty, so I hear, when they defrost.
I also want to make sure that fruit and veg from the garden gets used up, not composted or wasted, and sometimes there is fruit and veg in the fridge that needs eating today, and won't be nice tomorrow. My weapon in this war is a small, green ceramic bowl. I remember when I bought it, years ago, The Man raised an eyebrow at me, which meant, 'Another ceramic bowl? Really?', but little did he know what an important role it would play in our children's nutrition.
So, every day when the children come home from school, the green bowl is filled with something from the fridge or garden - grapes that need eating up, a handful of cherry tomatoes and beans that are perfectly ripe. Sometimes the bowl is accompanied by a plate of carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter or dip. Sometimes there is watermelon, or slices of a perfect peach that only had a teeny tiny bug inside it, so needed cutting up. Children tend to take a dim view of fruit with bugs, but what they don't know won't hurt them... there is very little food produced in a home garden that would pass the 'perfect produce' supermarket test, or fussy child test, but chopped up, nobody can tell the difference.
Now, if I asked the children if they would like fruit or veg for afternoon tea, they would mostly say 'no'. So the secret part of this weapon is silence. Silence is golden. I have never actually commented on the bowl of fruit on the kitchen bench. I have never suggested that they eat it. I don't know if they maybe think the fruit fairy leaves it.. but I do know this. The bowl is nearly almost always empty by bedtime.
Today I have filled the bowl with cherry plums that hang over our back fence from the neighbours' yard. Yum. You know, I probably wouldn't eat so much fruit without the magic green bowl either..