Jessica Siegel's Healthy Family Blog - Gelson's


Checking In


When Big J was a toddler, she loved her orange vegetables so much that her little nose was literally orange for a couple of years because she consumed so much beta-carotene from all of the orange sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and carrots she ate.  Eventually, in typical preschooler fashion, she decided that she no longer liked any of these foods and has avoided eating them for the last two years, with the exception of raw carrots.  I still kept all of these vegetables on the menu since the rest of us enjoy them, but I don’t make her eat them or even taste them.  They are there for her to serve herself if she chooses—no pressure!

Last week I made roasted sweet potato fries using the pre-cut organic sweet potatoes in our produce department.  When we sat down to dinner, Big J immediately snatched one out of the serving bowl and took a bite.  She crinkled up her nose and shook her head from side to side.  I must have looked surprised and she declared “I’m just checking in with my taste buds to see if they’ve grown up.”  She took another bite, crinkled up her nose again and reported “I’m not ready to start liking them again yet.”  I remained neutral and said “OK.”  Inside, I was smiling to myself and thinking about how great it was that she is pushing herself along with her eating and expecting herself to like more and more foods as she gets older.  She lost her first tooth last week and was feeling very grown up, which I think motivated her to check in with herself.  She’s also been nonchalantly eating hardboiled eggs this week as though she’s been enjoying them her whole life when in fact this is the first time she’s ever eaten them (those of you who have followed this blog for a long time know that egg acceptance has been a five-year journey for Big J).

Her attitude is inspiring!  Over the weekend at our Passover Seder, I decided to check in with my own taste buds to see if I might finally be ready to like gefilte fish (a traditional holiday ground fish loaf or patty).  My mom makes it sweet and serves it with strong prepared horseradish.  I never ate any fish when I was growing up, but I eat several kinds of mild fish now.  I still don’t care for strong fish flavors, but every year since Big J was born, I’ve tasted the gefilte fish on Passover.  I’ve never been ready to like it, but this year I actually enjoyed the horseradish portion of it and didn’t mind the fishiness too much.  I ate half a piece!  I’m proud of myself for checking in with my taste buds and I’m happy that I could set an example for my daughters.  I want them to be open to trying new foods and know that it’s safe to change their minds about foods that they previously didn’t care for.  Perhaps by next Passover I will be enjoying gefilte fish and Big J will be enjoying sweet potatoes again!