Friday, September 2, 2011

“I Just Want to Eat the Vegetables”

Actual dinner conversation at our house:

Me: “You have to eat your chicken, Kai.”
Kai: “But, I don’t want to. I just want to eat the vegetables.”

Yes, I must have the only kid in America who would rather eat vegetables than meat. Whether it is chicken, pork, beef, or turkey, my son often prefers to eat the veggies instead of the meat dish.

Carrots and celery have long been his favorite; I think the crunchy texture appeals to his sensory needs. But, these days, he also loves asparagus, cucumbers, onions, and peppers, and will readily eat green beans, edamame (Japanese soybeans), and even broccoli.

At dinnertime, he will usually eat the vegetables first, especially if carrots and celery are on the plate. Then he will have some rice. After that, he will ask for more vegetables. Usually I refuse to give him more until he eats some of the meat, and that is when we can have some version of the above conversation.

It wasn’t always that way. When he was young, we thought Kai would never eat anything other than hot dogs and bacon. But these days, he only likes bacon when my wife cooks it with some vegetable like kale or asparagus or spinach. And the only time we have hot dogs now is when dad has to make a quick lunch and nothing else is in our refrigerator.

On our last visit to our DAN! Doctor, he showed us test results that indicate that Kai’s protein levels are lower than they ideally should be, likely because he is not having enough meat. So now we are making a bigger push to get him to eat meat.

Of all the challenges I thought I would have raising a child, this was one that never entered my mind.

A vegetarian wannabe for a son? I never would have thunk it.


  1. He can still get enough protein from vegetables...although it would take some wrangling. How about eggs or dairy for him? Perhaps a protein shake?

    A child who loves vegetables...just like my son. Alex loves fish and chicken...but he skimps on the carbs. Healthful eating by demand from the child...backwards...but good anyway. :)

  2. We actually have Kai on a dairy-free diet and he tested as being sensitive to eggs so we try not to give him too much of that either. But my wife does make him protein shakes using soy protein powder and almond milk. I think that helps.

    Haha, yes, healthful eating by demand from a child... amazing! :)


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