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3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC, 20002
United States


Washington Youth Garden

I'll try it when I'm 4...

April Martin

It is so important to us that children leave the Washington Youth Garden with positive impressions of healthy eating.  So, welcome to Part 1 of our series about getting kids (and adults) to eat more vegetables!

Technique 1: Ignore it and move on to something different; vegetable hating is not forever

I used to babysit a little girl who, at age 3, would tell me after staring down the greens on her plate, “Maybe I will like it it when I am 4."  Nice work, mom.

At the youth garden, we encourage our students to try everything, even sour French Sorrel leaves and raw Asparagus.  They don’t always like it, but they’re less likely to make a fuss give negative peer pressure if we tell them our own stories of trying a hated food years later and loving it.

And we don’t let them get loud about it.  We use thumbs up, thumbs in the middle, thumbs down…and if we see a thumbs down, we encourage them to keep trying it and move on to a new vegetable.

Nadia, our farm manager, spent hours at her kitchen table not eating the peas on her plate.  I was extremely picky, but own mother always gave us two vegetable options and we just had to eat one of them.  Whatever you decide, take heart!  Both Nadia and I eat and love all sorts of vegetables now.  Keep it cool and positive and don’t turn it into a war!

Coming up soon: Technique 2 - Psychology research behind vegetable eating