Sometimes my husband introduces unhelpful or undesirable habits to my children. Like the weekend that I discovered my four-year-old, Luke, had developed an obsession with zombies from watching Daddy play several hours’ worth of a popular online game! But sometimes he also successfully plants seeds of healthy or productive habits in the same way.

For example, I still remember the time I came home from my graduate classes and discovered that James had tried both spinach and potatoes, and what’s more, he LIKED them. This somewhat selective eater had never shown any interest at all in either food. Daddy was amazing that way, and from him, I developed a strategy that really seems to help my kids try new and healthy foods.

See, Daddy was particularly good at getting James to try foods because he simply offered him things he was eating himself and that he legitimately liked. There was no coercion or “battles” of any kind. He offered, and James tried the food with an open mind! This tactic doesn’t always work. For example, James has been offered and tried quinoa several times and still just doesn’t like it. But we’ve had lots of other foods that have been successfully integrated in that way. He loves peas, green beans, spinach, and broccoli and thinks celery is an especially delicious treat. My mom always buys a relish tray just for James at any family event, and this year for his birthday he wanted tomatoes for his special meal!

So if you’re wondering, no, we never force our kids to eat vegetables. We encourage them to take one bite of each new food, and sometimes they like it, and sometimes they just don’t. But we don’t stop serving it, and we don’t stop offering. Most importantly, we don’t just offer healthy foods to our kids — we eat (and enjoy!) them too!


Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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