David McPhee, Ph.D.
Why not attend to the pea? Create a story of its planting and growth, and how it was protected and nurtured by nature and farmer alike. Enjoy its shape and color. Play with your food a bit and see how many peas will balance on the blade of a table knife. Tell the story of the princess and the pea, or of Jack and his Beanstalk (close enough.) Don't teach that peas are ugly but necessary. Food should never be associated with reward or punishment.
I once counseled aides at an eldercare center to be sure to offer residents their glasses before eating so they could see the food clearly, then discuss the food admiringly to see what memories this might trigger. While they are learning to respect and delight in ordinary food, it's OK for kids to smell it carefully and even touch it gently, and experiment with various utensils and unexpected combinations.
Most childhood obesity comes from compulsive eating by kids who confuse food with love or at least relief, together with poor teaching and the abundance of cheap, concentrated food.
Later, if we are lonely or bored and want love from outside ourselves, our hearts remember to connect love and comfort with sugars and fats, so we watch reruns with a soda and a bag of chips.
I published this article in an earlier version here in 2012. David McPhee, Ph.D.