I don't mean the simple answer of "because they are delicious and I don't eat meat." I mean the more complicated concept of how my parents raised me to be a person that eats vegetables. When I see the way some of my peers eat, I'll admit I'm a bit horrified. Sure, we have nights where we just have a pasta dish and don't have a side of vegetables, or nights where we eat veggie burgers with sweet potato fries, or the occasional rice&beans dish with no nutritional value, but for the most part, we usually have at least one vegetable with dinner. Or a fruit, if you count tomatoes.
I'll be the first person to admit that we don't eat enough vegetables, according to the mypyramid.gov people, but so far, no signs of scurvy.
Anyway, I am not one of those adults who dislikes vegetables and feels that the greatest thing about being an adult is being able to eat cupcakes for dinner. But I could have turned out very differently - I could have turned out like my vegetable hating friends; friends who eat frozen pizza every night, or cheeseburgers, or things with bacon. I was reading through this link from Cheap Healthy Good, because sometimes I babysit, and there was the answer as to why I like vegetables: "Remember, kids are more likely to do the eating if they’ve had a hand in the making."
For my father, getting us to eat vegetables was usually as simple as asking us what we would like to have for dinner. Yes, we usually picked spaghetti and meat sauce, but then he would say, "and we need a couple vegetables" at which point we would usually try to pick corn, to be reminded that corn was not a vegetable. My sister liked peas but I didn't, so we usually had peas and green beans or peas and broccoli. We didn't eat a whole lot of leafy greens, like Kale and Chard, but I think we are going to subscribe to a CSA this year which involves a whole lotta leafy greens. I'm looking forward to the challenge.
Since right now Mr. Barefoot and I don't have kids, but we want to someday, but I spend time with my cousin's kids, so I spend a fair bit of time thinking about how to raise kids who aren't picky eaters, who will try things, who will eat vegetables, who won't embarrass me at a friend's house. I had cousins growing up who were twins - and he was the pickiest eater I've ever seen, and she was one of the most adventurous. At Thanksgiving, she would fill her plate with turkey and baked ziti and even give the vegetables a try, without really being pushed. He would eat mashed potatoes. The answer isn't to never let kids have sugar or snack foods - but I'm very interested in figuring out how to develop a healthy decision-making process, because I truly believe that food is just the beginning and making good choices about food can transcend into making good choices about life. (This is not to say that having a chocolate covered marshmallow, as I did this morning, is necessarily a bad choice. In fact, it was an excellent one. Again, we are discussing the process.)
Are you a healthy eater now? Why do you think that is?