Holly Easterby strongly recommends feeding kids with healthier foods for better overall development. She gives parental tips at Bonza Brats and in blogs like this one. In this article, she shares how to get kids to eat their veggies.
Having a hard time making your kids eat their vegetable and fruits? Well, would it comfort you to know that you are not the only one who’s having a hard time feeding their kids with these? Yes, many parents argue with their kids regarding their food choices. If you have tried telling your child not to be let off the table until all of his green vegetables are gone from his plate and this is not working at all, maybe it’s time to change your tactics. Why not try the tips listed below?
Enforce the taste first rule. You have house rules. So why not make table dinner rules too? Impose that kids need to taste the food on the table first before they are allowed to refuse anything. This should be done at least three times for a particular type of dish. This will help them get used to its taste and will be more amenable to eat this the next time they see this on the dining table.
Don’t let them know about it. If it’s really difficult for you to feed your child with vegetables, it’s okay not to tell them about it. One of the ways to do this is by incorporating these in their drinks. Get a juicer and mix this with their favorite fruits. Another method you can use is to include this in baked goodies. Remember the pulp from the juicer? Don’t throw this away. You can mix this with cakes, muffins or burger patties.
Make their dinner look fun. Getting crafty with meals is also another way to make kids eat vegetables. Who is your kid’s favorite cartoon character? You can make use of this as your pattern. If your creative ability will only allow you to make Smiley with eggs and pepper, time to put that computer to good use. YouTube offers a vast number of bento recipes that will teach you how to arrange your kid’s lunch box into virtually almost anything.
Don’t turn mealtime into a fight. When kids think of dinnertime, they should be able to associate this with positive feelings. One of the easiest ways to ruin dinner is by forcing your kids to eat their vegetables. When they don’t like to eat these, bite your mouth. Fighting over it will only enhance their dislike for veggies.
Eat them first. If your kids rarely or never see you eat your greens, do you honestly think they’ll just grab a bite of the ones on their plate just because you told them to do so? It’s easier to ask your kids to do something if they see you do it too. If you want them to take a bite, then show the how it’s supposed to be done. To make it look yummy, why not follow this up with, “It’s very delicious!”
Grow a garden together. Organic food for children offers the added benefit of these being free from unwanted chemicals. And when they grow their own vegetables and fruits, kids will be more inclined to try their own produce. So free your afternoons and get planting seasonal vegetables together.
Turn them into their own chefs. If you do not have a backyard that you can use to grow a vegetable garden, there are other activities that could help encourage kids to eat green veggies. Tag them along when shopping for these and name it “the ultimate nutritious shopping experience”. Ask them to pick the healthiest vegetable they could find and then teach them the best way to cook this too.
Make it a habit to combine. Steamed or raw vegetables are healthy. But kids have different taste preference and most would choose fried chicken or pork any time of the day. Instead of serving a certain vegetable on its own, incorporate this with meat ingredients. There are many meat plus vegetable recipes that you can find online. Why not try soups? Or go Asian and cook up a delicious meat and vegetable stir-fry recipe?
Serve only delicious vegetables at first. Make their first taste of vegetables something really nice. It does not have to be the usual meals you would normally eat as an adult or go solo on their plate. Serve it as a pizza or pancake. Instead of letting them eat vegetables with very strong tastes, choose those that are sweet like squash or one that has a mild taste. Fried zucchini coated with seasoned flour tastes really nice and will taste heavenly too in a pizza recipe.
Ditch junk foods. Make it a practice early to feed your kids only with healthy snacks. Junk food like French fries and potato chips taste good. And when you make it a habit to feed your kids mostly with these, it will be difficult to feed them with healthier foods like vegetables later on. For snacks, go for fresh fruits instead. Or make your own healthy treats made of these ingredients.
Give the recipe an interesting name. One of the best qualities of kids? They love to play and can be very trusting. Use this to your advantage. Name your veggie recipes into superhero meals if they are boys or make a princess veggie menu for your small girl.
Offer variation. Even if you consider this your most delicious vegetable recipe to date, eating it day in and day out will eventually make you succumb to one of the laws in economics- the law of diminishing marginal utility. The satisfaction you get from consuming a certain good will not yield the same satisfaction you felt for it when you first tried it. Plan daily meals and make it a point to use different vegetables.
The key to healthier kids is feeding them with great food options. These should include a balanced diet consisting of meat, vegetables, fruits, and carbohydrates. Making kids eat vegetables may not come easy especially for picky eaters. Be patient. Some kids do adjust to these easily while others take a while getting used to their green stuff.
Author: Holly Easterby
Holly’s love for children has seen her featured in many education and children websites, whether talking about healthy snacks, motivating students or children’s fashion at Bonza Brats. Holly loves reading books, and shopping is her way of spending time with her young family. If you would like to catch her, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @HollyEasterby