By now, everyone knows the importance of fruits and vegetables in nutrition—that is, everyone but children. When it comes to children, fruits sell themselves because they tend to be colorful and sweet. Vegetables, for some reason tend to be less persuasive at mealtime.
As individuals, they will develop an accurate sense of likes and dislikes as they mature. In the meantime, it is up to us to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need, and not just what they want. How do you get your child to eat the greens?
Moms from everywhere agree that kids eat almost anything in a soup. You can’t get chunky vegetables past them in a sauce or goulash, but strangely, vegetables seem likeable—or maybe invisible—behind the thin veil of soup.
Get Them Involved
Kids are in a hurry to grow up, which means they like opportunities they are given to do grown up things—like baking and cooking. One sure way to get kids to eat vegetables voluntarily is to enlist their help making dinner. If they washed it, threw it in the pan, poured the water, stirred it, it is almost certain they, too, will want to eat it!
Grow it Yourself
Drawing on the same sense of accomplishment they get from helping cook, another similar approach is involve children in keeping a garden. This is a lifestyle activity and it teaches a healthy message, and encourages healthy living. Children like doing some of the things adults get tired of, like watering the garden! Let them take part in planting, caring and picking vegetables from your family garden. They likely will want to take a part in eating them too!
Kids like things they can dip. (A truer statement might be kids like to make a mess.) A cold vegetable tray with a non-fat or low-fat dip is one way to get them to eat vegetables. Try using colorful veggies, like carrots, and red or yellow bell peppers. Kids are more accepting of foods that aren’t green!
Kids love tomato juice. One step away and just as colorful is a vegetable juice cocktail. They are 100% juice and very flavorful. Put a colorful curly straw in it and watch them love it.
We have discussed how kids often enjoy eating things they were involved in preparing. A salad bar gives young people the opportunity to pick and choose what they like. At home one night, spread out an array of vegetables and select healthy toppers. You might be surprised what they put on their plate.
Some moms suggest hiding vegetables by pureeing them and incorporating them to other recipes. That seems agreeable if you can develop recipes your entire family can enjoy. Honesty and openness is important to a healthy family life, even when it concerns veggies!
Communication and Choices
These are mostly suggestions you can use on an occasional basis, but when it comes down to it, you have to be the parent. Explain that eating vegetables is required for their health and encourage your children to work with you to identify vegetables they can willingly enjoy.