Subway Employee: Wow, It's Good That Your Kids Eat Vegetables

Armen Hareyan's picture
Vegetable Meal

Many adults, even though they want to become vegans, don't like vegetables. How can someone not like vegetables if it's the healthiest food remaining in most parts of the planet. This short episode at a Subway restaurant in Georgia got me thinking, and how I taught my children to love and eat vegetables.

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Two weeks ago I was on a trip with my two young children going from NC to Atlanta. Once we crossed Georgia we stopped in a rural area on Interstate 85 to get a Subway. Two of my children who were accompanying me on this trip asked for lots of vegetables in their Subways. They are aged 10 and 5. When I was ready to pay, the Subway employee said "wow, it's good that your children love and eat vegetables. I can't get my son to eat a single vegetable." When I asked how old is your son and what does he eats then, she replied "he is 25 and only eats hamburgers and meat sandwiches."

As I was continuing my trip I was thinking, how can one have a healthy life when he eats only hamburgers and sandwiches. What has gone wrong and where it has gone wrong. Our children are supposed to learn how to eat healthy diet at home and at schools. If the school and homes don't do a good job preparing children, they grow become adults and don't know how to eat healthy and don't like vegetables.

School Lunch

In my children's school, the cafeteria is like a buffet style. The children enter the buffet area from one end and check out at the register. The area where they enter starts from meat, hamburgers, Pizzas and those types of reprocessed foods. Salads and vegetables are near the register. When children get to the register their trays are already filled with foods and their limits are reached. Thus, it's very unlikely that they will give preference to vegetables.

I think making a small change and reversing food order in school cafeteria will make a big impact. Let children see vegetables and salads first and put the meat products near the cache register.

Home Setting

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Unless parents specifically introduce vegetables to their children, the kids will always give preference to hamburgers and pizzas. After all, meat products are the most common types of foods that are often advertised on TV and on your screens. But if parents have grown that way and they themselves don't eat vegetables, how can they teach their children to love and eat what is healthy and good.

In our house we try and work specifically consistently to introduce new vegetables to our children. We involve them in the kitchen. Giving them very small assignments, like bring those vegetables, or put them back in the refrigerator. We probably go out only about once every other month. The rest of the time we cook at home every day and make dinner preparation a family event. Children see what is being prepared, how is being prepared and they get used to it. If there are vegetable soups that they don't like at first, we blend them and they always eat the blended version of the soup.

Thus, they get used to vegetables and I am hoping that we are planting good seeds in teaching them how to love and eat vegetables.

You Train Yourself To Love Vegetables

Regarding the adults, who don't like eating vegetables, you have to train yourself. I have heard people saying you have to try new foods at least 21 times before your taste buds can even properly taste them, and that's even without considering gut flora, texture, and cooking technique used. For instance, many people think they don't like mushrooms. But if you introduce them breaded chestnut mushrooms in garlic sauce, stir fried oyster mushrooms in lemon, and straw mushrooms with hot and sour soup they are likely to completely change their mind.

So just get them in you. Get vegetables in as many different ways as you can. Even blend them for sauces or juices and your gut will love them and start asking you for them, even if your mind says "it looks slimy". And keep going back each year. I read about one person who said it took her 7 years to eat baked beans. 3 of those years she had to wash all the sauce off before she would even attempt it, but now she says she loves them.

Eating vegetables makes life healthier and easier.

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