Wednesday, September 28, 2016

On Salad

JT isn’t the world pickiest eater, but for years he’s certainly been in the running for the title.  Mostly, I lived with his pickiness because my gentle attempts to get him to try something new were always met with gagging horror followed by accusatory looks.  He can still recount a time when he was three years old and I tried to get him to eat broccoli.  He tells this tale to anyone who will listen and delivers the “she made me eat broccoli” punchline in the same tone as one would say “and then I was made to eat the live mouse.”

There were occasional deviations from his world of bread, turkey and ham sandwiches, pizza, spaghetti, and chicken fingers.  He has always loved tacos and eats avocado by the bucket full.  But mostly he did not experiment. 

Several years ago, our school got a new lunch facility (called the Dining Commons because prep schools give everything a fancy name) and lunch was now included with tuition.  This freed me from lunch-packing drudgery.  I figured that JT would just eat a turkey sandwich every day and that would be the end of it.  Instead, he tentatively began to explore new foods.

I’m not saying that he greeted Indian food day with a cheer.  I am saying he began to try chicken parm and lasagna, even the occasional bowl of chicken noodle soup.  He branched out ever so slightly.  Then his cross country coach began to make nutrition suggestions and disciple of hers that he is, a whole new variety of foods entered his world.

For starters, he gave up soda entirely and now travels everywhere with a water bottle the size of an infant.

He discovered he liked tomatoes.  From that came a try at salad, especially if home-grown tomatoes are in the bowl.  From salad came cole slaw, which he thinks is just a different kind of salad.  I suspect he understands cabbage is not lettuce, so this is an actual experimentation achievement.

Greek and Icelandic yogurt (less sweet; more protein) began to be consumed.  

Fruit outside the trifecta of banana, apple, and orange entered his world.  Strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi…….he will give most fruits at least a tentative try.

He tried refried beans, liked them, and then tried garbanzo beans in a salad.  Sold.

Peanut butter and nuts were welcomed…..walnuts, pecans, and a handful of almonds as a snack on race days.

Most suppers at my house involved a salad for one.  Now the boy joins in, embracing new flavors and even, on occasion, a little carrot with his tomato and lettuce.  

I feel like I am ever closer to being able to send him out in the world as a human with vaguely normal eating habits.  Parenting victory!

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