I've spent way more time consorting with our fine, single-payer healthcare system in 2012 than I have in the past few years combined. I'm just back from an overnight stay on the pediatrics ward. All is fine, or so we are assuming until tests come back. In fact, my daughter had such a good time there that she didn't want to leave. And she discovered a new, delicious food - peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
The pediatric toddler menu was very interesting. Breakfast was milk, cornflakes, a slice of wholewheat toast with strawberry jam option, and apple juice (which my daughter insisted on eating with a spoon). Lunch was the aforementioned sandwich, chicken noodle soup, milk, canned peaches, and apple juice. Notice anything missing?
That's right, the fruit-and-vegetable category was entirely filled by fruits. I don't know if the hospital has assumed that children won't eat vegetables, or has discovered from experience that they don't (in which case, do they only not eat vegetables prepared in typical hospital-food fashion, boiled to death?). I admit that I have little experience with children not eating vegetables - whether because of luck, parental modelling of finding delight in vegetables, or perversity, our kids like almost all vegetables, and as they age they discover the odd vegetable they refused has become tasty.
I mostly keep quiet about this, though, because perusing the internets tells me that my children have freakish tastes and I'd better not offer advice or brag about them. It's a very touchy subject, and people tend to assume that opinions are actually judgments on their parenting. Especially since it often takes the form of a struggle: parents puree and disguise vegetables, bargain with their children to get a few tastes past the gag reflex, and sometimes, give up and only serve the vegetables that are tolerated.
I am of the generation that ate what was on their plate Or Else, and I have vivid memories of crying while I choked down purple cabbage with soya sauce and sesame seeds, and bit beets in half to swallow the chunks down with milk. I still don't like beets, although I'll cook them for my husband and son (as of last summer, my daughter didn't like them yet). I have a bit of the Or Else mentality - not enough to cause a major power struggle - but I've rarely felt the need to employ eating rules.
What do you think? If children are presented with a variety of good food, eating is joyful, and coercion is not employed, will they come to eat their vegetables? And can this be done in a hospital?