Children Can Be Finicky Eaters
We all know that vegetables are great for us. They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fiber, amino and fatty acids, and a host of other beneficial elements that aid the body in becoming and remaining healthy.
That being said, any parent can attest to the fact that getting certain kids to eat vegetables is a rather difficult task. Some children simply do not care how healthy veggies are; they just don’t like them. However, vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet, especially for growing bodies. Unfortunately, many people (and their children) don’t get nearly enough of them.
So, how can you get your kids to eat more veggies?
Get the Veggie Habit Going Quickly: Good Habits Start Early
If your children are young enough that their food tastes are still developing, then make sure you start them off on the right track by serving veggies with every meal. What you serve them as toddlers will have a huge effect on their eventual eating habits.
Keep the veggies around that they express a preference for, and expose them to new ones as often as possible. This can be another solid strategy in your campaign to get the veggies onto your kids’ plates.
Set a Good Example: Eat Your Own Vegetables!
If your children are old enough to have developed eating habits and tastes of their own, you might despair, thinking it’s too late to teach them to eat healthfully. But truth be told, it’s never too late. After all, who taught your kids how to eat? Well, maybe their school or daycare had something to do with it, but they probably take most of their dietary cues from you.
Thus, it is very important to set a good example when it comes to getting enough veggies, no matter how old your children are. Substituting fruit and veggies for other snacks is one way to make this easy. Instead of snacking on potato chips, bring out the cucumber slices, and baby carrots with hummus. Switch out the candy bars for fresh fruit. In place of ice cream, make the occasional frozen strawberry banana smoothie.
By stocking your refrigerator with healthy alternatives to common snack foods, you not only make it easier to eat healthy, but you also set a great example for your youngsters. They might complain at first, but pretty soon, they’ll develop a taste for fresh fruits and veggies, and the healthy feeling they bring.
You Could Use a Hand, Right?
Most children love helping in the kitchen, and assisting with grocery shopping. They enjoy the feeling that their efforts contributed to the creation of a delicious meal, and basking in the adoration that comes with it. Make sure to compliment them on how well-chosen the beets are, how well-stirred the soup tastes, or how you’ve never seen carrots peeled quite so expertly.
And, while you’re at it, make sure that the meals you make together are veggie-rich. Kids will typically eat anything that they have had a hand in preparing, so the meals they help cook are sometimes the best meals to introduce new veggies, or to reacquaint them with ones they have expressed a distaste for in the past.
Kids Love Juice
If you have trouble getting your kids to eat vegetables, maybe it’s time to get a juicer. Even kids who wouldn’t dream of eating vegetables willingly, love dropping vegetables into the mouth of a juicer, and watching the juice pour out. This goes hand in hand with the above point about letting them participate. If they helped make the juice, they will probably drink it.
In order to make veggie juice more palatable, start off with mild veggies, such as cucumber and spinach, and throw in some apples, just to sweeten the deal. Carrots, ginger, and oranges, in addition to beets, will also add a sweetness to the veggie juice that just might make it palatable enough to convince your kids to dive right in.
Do you have a special trick that has worked well with kids and veggies? Share your healthy eating secrets in the comments section below!
[Photo Via: Thriving Family]