Back in the days when I was a new mom, I recall a surprising trip to McDonald’s. I sat and watched as a mom and her toddler enjoyed their lunch together. You’re probably saying to yourself “What’s the big deal about that?” The big deal is that both mother and child were sitting at McDonald’s eating a salad. Not “Mom was eating a salad while her child enjoyed a Happy Meal.” Nope. They each were eating a salad.I remember commenting to my mother-in-law, who happened to be with me, that I was astonished that the child wasn’t pitching a fit for fries. All kids eat fries at McDonald’s, right? Maybe there are more options if children have positive experiences with healthy alternatives, as well.
Fast forward a few years as I sit at McDonald’s enjoying my own salad, only to have it stolen away by my then 3 year old daughter. “Excuse me, missy, but that’s MY salad.” To which she curls her arms around the salad to protect it from being retrieved by me. She will gladly eat vegetables and salads (and tons of other foods) without complaint as long as they have ranch dressing on it. Preferably, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (which, by the way, has been a favorite of mine since before it came in ready-to-serve bottles).
I don’t know where Miss K picked up on this habit, but I going to encourage it. For example, this past Spring, we decided to put in a vegetable garden. You can read about the progression (Phase 1: startup, Phase 2: Wow they are growing and Phase 3: holy cow that’s a lot of vegetables) over at SAHM Ramblings, my personal blog.
As another example, whenever I prepare a vegetable tray for a party, I make sure to add carrot-stuffed cucumbers for the kids. For lack of a better explanation (and lack of a picture), they end up looking like a cucumber tire with a carrot hubcap. To make them: Cut off the ends of a large cucumber then cut it in half so each side is about as tall as an apple. Using an apple corer, hollow out the center of the cucumber then push a large (clean) carrot into the opening. Cut it into slices and when you are done, you’ll have a fun veggie for the kids (and the parents).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the few things I do to encourage my kids to eat vegetables, but I’m far from being a role model. Hidden Valley Ranch, however, is on the hunt for people who do stand out and plan to reward 10 lucky moms in their “Search for Veggie Champions Contest.” In addition to contest details, the Love Your Veggies website offers kid-friendly vegetable recipes, activities, tips for creating a garden and more. If you are a teacher or active in your school, it’s worth finding out more about the school grants program.
While I don’t think I have what it takes to make the cut as a champion, I believe this is a great opportunity for moms who are inspirational. Check out the contest rules and prizes then get to work on your entries!