Vegetable Labor

Vegetable Labor May 16, 2014
English cukes go fast around here

Feeding family vegetables is hard work. Hard, but necessary, I get it.

A combination of: being raised in California, reading Michael Pollan, and fulfilling the duties of an Army wife to keep her husband trim has honed my focus on getting fresh vegetables into my crew. Let’s face it, men will only eat vegetables that are washed and cut and put in front of them. Also Texas Mommy forced me to make all my own baby purees, and, consequently all four children are great consumers of produce as well. So my complaint is not the, more common, “how do I get them to eat more vegetables?” But, rather I am daunted by the amount of time required to prep fresh fruits and vegetables.

I only grocery shop once a week and we get an additional box of organic produce delivered to the house midweek, but I feel like I am always washing and peeling vegetables. I learned that a tupperware of peeled and cut carrots will get eaten much faster than the raw ones in a bag. My sons (4 and 6) will eat cucumber and tomato salad in balsamic dressing, but that only keeps for about 12 hours, so I have to prepare it fresh. Washing greens is a nightmare, because if you don’t adequately dry them salad goes all slimy. Also, there is the fruit washing. If the kids are eating apples or pears or berries that were not organically grown, I need to wash every thing before it goes into the fruit bowl. I try to use the spray veggie wash that they sell in the produce section at our store, but if I am out, I fill a sink with dishwashing detergent or vinegar and water. But, this is a seriously labor-intensive mission here. I try to manage three servings of vegetables a day — this turns into one with lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and then a dinner vegetable. I allow myself several bags of the microwaveable frozen organic veggies a week (Godsend) but that amount still requires plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable prep to supplement.

I am looking for strategies here, and specific vegetables that sell to children. Do I need a salad spinner, or do you all just buy those expensive plastic tubs of organic greens? I think I have to wash some romaine or iceberg though, because the pre-washed greens only come in spinach and spring mix here, which I have a hard time selling. Are baby carrots sinfully lazy and devoid of nutrition? Lastly, how do we feel about those viscous ranch dressings? Why are they so hard to get off of dishes? Shouldn’t that mean that they are bad inside our children’s little bodies? Do we turn a blind eye because it is getting them to eat salad? Speak wise mother-nutritionists, please.


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