Recently, Amber Strocel wrote a post admitting that she lies to her children. It got me thinking a lot about instances in which I feel it would be ok to lie to my kid. Then, not long after that, I made zucchini brownies and found myself in a situation where a ten-year-old girl was eating one of them without knowing what was in it. After she had eaten about half of a brownie, I decided to tell her (mostly out of pride that I had made such a delicious treat with a green vegetable hidden in it).
"You know, there's zucchini in these brownies!" I said proudly.
She looked at me, surprised, then focused in closely to the remainder of her brownie, searching for any evidence of the presence of vegetables. Eventually, she shrugged her shoulders and happily finished the rest of the chocolate treat.
Her mom then said to me, "I'm going to give you a hint: don't tell them when there are vegetables in their food."
sneak veggies into your kid's food to make sure they're taking in enough nutrients. I believe in offering the foods kids should eat over and over, as I've read that it takes more than 10 times of offering a vegetable before a child will eat it. I read an interesting study where researchers found that increasing the portion of vegetables given (carrots, in this instance) caused the children to consume 47% more than with the smaller portion size. I've also read that scientists believe that children have an innate aversion to bitter tastes (like that of many vegetables) because in the wild, poisonous plants are often bitter. Aversion to bitterness is actually a survival instinct.
I can certainly understand omitting certain facts about food in some circumstances, but if asked directly, I would never outright lie about it. I was a pretty picky eater as a child, and I always wanted to know what was in things. I don't know if that's because someone lied to me at some point and I had a bad experience or if I just wanted to be sure. I remember a time at a church dinner once when I ate a big bite of pickled beets thinking they were slices of canned cranberry sauce, and that was a very bad surprise.
I do know, however, that lots of people these days have food allergies and sensitivities—I even know someone who is allergic to nearly all fruits and vegetables. Disclosing any unexpected ingredients (like zucchini in brownies) to at least the parent of a child when sharing food with them is always a good idea.
I have the perspective of being someone who used to be a fairly picky eater especially when it came to vegetables, and now I'm someone who eats all kinds of vegetables. I'm even growing beets in my front yard right now—with no intentions of pickling them!
I'm curious—what would you do in the situation with the brownies? Would you lie to your kid (or someone else's) about that was in the brownies if explicitly asked? Would you simply omit the information (what you don't know can't hurt you)? What would you want to happen if you were the person eating the mystery brownies? Do you have any related stories to share? I can't wait to hear your perspective on this one!
Photo credit computix on Flickr.