My first favorite method is to buy frozen peas and diced carrots and store them in a clear freezer bag so that Johnny can see what I’m pulling out of the freezer. “OOOO, Does Johnny want Blocks and Balls?” I ask with the veggie-light in my eyes.
He clacks his tongue – every time – in that snacking sound Scottie taught him and looks delighted. I take a handful and run the veggies under warm water just until they are thawed. This way I don’t have to cook them and Johnny doesn’t have to eat mush, against which he was taking a stand before he was even twelve months old.
Once the veggies are thawed – about thirty seconds – I arrange them on his tray, peas on one side and carrots on the other. “Look at these yumadoo orange Blocks!” I say. “And look at these delicious green Balls.” Johnny eats this sort of stuff up.
How did we get there? Well, I have to put part of it down to natural inclination: Johnny just fell in love with peas. He was practicing picking things up and the peas were the perfect size for his fingers. Also, they happen to be tiny eatable balls, and the ball is his second-favorite toy. (Apples – whole, not sliced – get similar preference.)
However I quickly learned that canned peas were not favored. They have an ugly color and they are mushy. Frozen veggies are inexpensive, they are more nearly fresh and very firm, and they have a wonderful bright color. The carrots came with the peas and Johnny soon learned to like them just as much. Putting veggies on his tray before any other food shows up really helps.
My other favorite method is by way of V-8 Vegetable Juice. I put it in a tiny cup. It’s easier for him to drink than fruit juice because it has the pulp and flows more slowly. If I am really, really, in a hurry I can squirt it into his mouth with a medical syringe. Tsk, tsk, that’s the lazy way out and doesn’t teach Johnny independance. Yes, well, at least my kid eats his veggies every single day.