As promised last week when I shared my thoughts on if you should hide vegetables in your child’s meals, today is story time. I would like to tell you the story about my son and his love-hate-and-back-in-love relationship with cherry tomatoes.
When my son was less than 2 years old (he is now 6 years old), he used to eat raw cherry tomatoes as a snack all the time. All of this until one day, when the cherry tomatoes suddenly became his enemy and he refused to have anything to do with them.
He would eat cooked tomatoes (in soups, stews, etc.) or in salads, but not by themselves. I tried to remind him that he actually likes (or used to like) raw cherry tomatoes, but he was not having any of it.
OK, I thought, now what do I do? I am not going to give up that easily as raw cherry tomatoes are a mess-free, nutritious, and easy snack to pack for school or to the park, but what can I do to help him rekindle his love with tomatoes?
So I tried different approaches:
1. I served raw cherry tomatoes at the table, but he did not put them on his plate.
2. I put them on his plate, but he did not touch them.
3. I asked him to eat only one. The smallest cherry tomato I could find. He reluctantly put it in his mouth. He then made a terrorized face and spat the tomato out.
4. Repeated step 3 many, many times, several weeks in a row, until he was okay chewing and swallowing 1 tiny cherry tomato.
5. Then this happened. Two summers ago, my family (my husband, 2 children, and myself) drove for 8 hours to my brother-in-law’s wedding. On our way, we stopped in a small town at a park to rest and stretch our legs. We took 1 pint of cherry tomatoes with us to eat in the park.Guess who could not get enough of these raw cherry tomatoes? Yes, you guessed right: my son. In fact, the rest of us barely ate any. I have no idea what happened. I think being hungry coupled with the happiness of playing at a new playground during a road trip, and maybe because these cherry tomatoes were particularly juicy, reminded him that he used to like them. And since that day, he is back to eating cherry tomatoes.
6. There is a step 6! My son eats cherry tomatoes, but not if they are mushy. And when I say mushy, I mean that if the tomato has the slightest soft spot, he refuses to eat it. He carefully checks every cherry tomato and if he feels a soft spot, he puts it back in the bowl.To get around this, I now cut in half the ones that I know he will refuse as he can’t tell anymore if they are soft or not. And he eats them happily!
The moral of this story: your child does not like a particular food? Keep trying. Do they still refuse that food, after you repeatedly offered it to them? Keep trying.
Never give up and keep trying until one day you have the pleasant surprise that they not only eat the food, but also enjoy it.
And since we have been talking about raw cherry tomatoes, I can’t help but mention a delicious recipe that is easy to make and features cherry tomatoes: Pasta Salad with Green Peppers, Tomatoes, and Olives. Yum!
What about you? Do you have any stories where your child used to refuse a particular food but then finally came around?
Image courtesy of Mister GC at freedigitalphotos.net