You can teach a dinosaur to like sushi

We were craving sushi Saturday night. We had just left a Halloween party at Union Station's Science City so the kids were in their costumes. Why not? This was one of those nights when we had a really pleasant dinner out, just the four of us. Both kids ate really well and behaved, though Izzy did start yelling a bit. She just likes to hear the sound of her own voice sometimes - and she can get loud!

Watching Charlie enthusiastically eat edamame, tempura sweet potatoes, rice and miso soup (he wanted more of the miso soup once it was gone), I am reminded that kids can be taught to like and enjoy a variety of flavors and tastes. At home it seems like he prefers PB&J to anything else I fix and it gets frustrating. But out to dinner at a sushi restaurant, he basically didn't turn anything down and even wanted to try some of Ryan's sashimi (we told him he wouldn't like it, but we probably should have let him try it).  So what gives?

We were all eating out together, and sitting at the table closest to the window meant great people watching - there was a costume party going on at the bar next door so it was like our own private Halloween parade. Using chopsticks was different and fun for the kids. (Charlie did pretty well with his set of training chopsticks, even left-handed). It was late and we were all hungry and that had to have helped. And there was no begging anyone to eat anything. I didn't order the kids their own meal, just gave them this and that of what we were having so I wasn't worried about an entire meal going to waste. I almost prefer eating this way as opposed to ordering something bland off the kids' menu that they usually barely touch. Izzy is the exception, she still eats everything. But Charlie did too at her age, so I'm not factoring in her eating habits yet. She did really like Ryan's seaweed salad and also gave the chopsticks her very best effort.

So when I read about how kids are throwing out their fruit and veggies with the new school lunch program, and are either going hungry or hitting the vending machines as a result, I fault the parents. Getting kids to eat healthy should not be a choice or a value-added bonus dependent on your family income. It is a basic health matter, and even more -  improves kids' performance in the classroom and for all things later in life. Get with the program parents and do your kids a solid. Teach your children to enjoy healthy foods (that means you have to learn to like them, too!) and to eat something besides fries and ketchup!

I struggle to get my kids to eat healthy, just like everyone else and that was my motivation behind our CSA adventure this summer. All I can do, all any of us can do, is keep trying. I'm making this recipe for the kids tonight. Think they'll eat it??


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