Radish Routine #5
By now, you might have picked up on a uniting thread to our approach: kids choose! When possible, we let them pick the Produce of the Day. We build Broccoli Boundaries to prevent kids from yucking someone else’s yum, but we don’t take away their choice to refuse a taste. If children have a negative experience with a food, they’re less likely to ever give it another try. So, let them choose.
This does not, however, mean that you should give kids a blanket choice. It can backfire if we ask a broad question like, “What do you want for dinner?” Of course, most kids will pick pizza, or nachos, or whatever junk food sounds best. As adults, we must create the boundaries and the options for our kids. Because kids are learning they should eat a fruit or veggie with every meal or snack, we’ll present them with options to make this happen. When kids are presented with a bounty of colorful options, they’re likely to choose more than one.
One mealtime example of this is a taco bar. As the adult, you’ve chosen the meal: tacos. Kids get to pick the toppings. Set out a variety of colorful, chopped veggies and toppings. Tell your child they have a choice of which vegetable to add, but to remember our rule that we must eat a fruit or veggie with every snack or meal. Kids are making a choice–and you’ve created the healthy boundary to ensure that their choice is a success.
Whenever possible, the recipes we make in food literacy class are “deconstructed” to help create choice. This means that, (with the exception of dips and sauces), the recipes won’t fail if you omit one ingredient.
We have already established the Broccoli Boundary that we’re going to make the whole recipe so we can learn to cook. But it’s okay if kids choose to pick out the carrots or cauliflower when they’re eating. It’s okay if they’re not in the mood for cabbage this time. Our recipes typically contain plenty of other produce to ensure our kids are eating a healthy meal or snack.