There's no shocking twist at the end of this article that will serve as a clickbait fulfillment. Simply put, we're leading with produce as much as humanely possible around our house these days.

The reason is tw0-fold:
1. Hannah is composting, now, and my main motivator of any decision is how to become the most favorite friend. Therefore, to become Hannah's favorite friend, I have committed my family to produce the most compostable waste.
2. I despise micro-managing snack intake. I don't like watching the clock, I don't like opening packages, I don't like watching $4 of crackers disappear into a crumby mess within seconds.

I keep it simple: I present my girls with fresh produce at every single meal. That tends to look like:

A carb or protein (pancakes, muffins, eggs, French toast, etc.)

Typically leftovers from our adult dinner the night before
A vegetable (leftover roasted vegetables if I have any on hand, cucumbers, avocado, cherry tomatoes)
** if the girls are going to school (remember the days?), this is my best chance to get them to try a new vegetable. My absence plus the peer pressure from classmates increases the chance they'll eat what I pack.

I have 2 produce bowls in my kitchen. One is out of little arm reach and holds produce I've picked up as ingredients, so I'm not looking for the one apple I need for apple-cabbage slaw only to discover it's been devoured. The other is accessible to them, and they can grab anything from it any time without asking. If they're going to ruin their lunch or dinner with a snack too close to mealtime, I can't complain about them destroying it with an orange, yes?

Tea Time
If you've listened to any recent episodes, you may have heard me mention tea time. We're having it several days a week, and it's a set time where we sit at the table together and enjoy a heavier snack and a special drink (lemonade or juice). I usually serve whatever baked good treat alongside a big plate of snap peas or cucumbers. Serving this midday treat has semi-curbed the request for desserts after dinner (SEMI) and gives them another chance to eat a vegetable before we start the overtired, "please sit down" dinner dance.

Looks very similar to lunch and always includes a vegetable

My general approach to how kids eat is to not stress about it. If they aren't eating, there's probably a reason. If they're asking for more, there's probably a reason. But unless there is a drastic, prolonged shift in their consumption, I let them lead the way. My most important job, in my opinion, is to give them multiple, varied opportunities to ingest healthy, whole foods.

Sometimes they love roasted broccoli. Sometimes they snub it. I don't comment either way. Here are the things that I'm almost always guaranteed they'll enjoy (until I publish this post, as these things go):
- Cucumbers (all the girls will eat)
- Frozen peas (they only like them frozen)
- Cherry tomatoes (only my oldest will eat them, but I always put them on all 3 plates)
- Avocado
- Kale chips (David and I eat kale chips every. single. night, and I try to reserve some for the girls. They will devour theirs... most of the time)
- Raw snap peas
- Roasted sweet potatoes (Annablair and Jane Ellis will eat these. Nora Beth, not so much)
- Roasted butternut squash
- Roasted spaghetti squash
- Roasted cauliflower
- Literally any fruit