3 Tips to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables
From the time children are old enough to feed themselves, they are old enough to fight over dinner. If your child is a certified veggie-phobe, here are 3 easy ways to convince your child to eat their vegetables without yelling, screaming or threatening.
Grow a garden
Children are drawn to gardens. There’s a magical feeling to watching the plants grow from seeds to something that can go on your plate. Encourage your child to help pick what veggies you grow, and insist that he or she help with the watering, weeding and picking of the plants.
By taking ownership and responsibility for growing the food, children will feel more invested in the veggies, and more likely to try them. Plus, home-grown vegetables are usually better tasting and fresher than the produce available in your local grocery store.
Not everyone can grow a garden. If you’re an apartment dweller or live in an inhospitable climate, a garden isn’t always a practical solution. No matter where you live, though, you can give your child some connection to the food that goes into his or her body.
Let your child participate in grocery shopping, and allow him or her to select what vegetables to eat during the week. If you want to make sure you’re also buying products that are seasonal and affordable, you can limit the options to only two or three choices. Any sense of control is likely to help your child connect with the food on his or her plate. Even if you can’t take your child with you to the store, have him or her select a few veggies from the weekly circular for you to purchase.
Set a good example
Your child’s food behavior will likely mimic your own. If you eat popcorn for dinner and fast food for lunch, don’t be surprised when your child scoffs at eating a snack of radishes and carrots. Even if you don’t love vegetables yourself, find some new recipes to try.
Make a list of your family’s favorite veggies, and try to incorporate them in to your weekly meal plan. Keep healthy veggies cut and ready as easy-to-grab snacks for you and your children. Chopped celery with peanut butter is a filling snack for children and adults. Sliced peppers or carrots and dip, and cucumbers with low-fat cream cheese, make quick and healthy snacks as well.
No matter what options your try, remember to be patient. Let your child experiment and try new foods. If your budget allows, consider buying multicolored vegetables, such as orange cauliflower or purple green beans. Keep things fun, and allow your child to decide that he or she doesn’t like certain veggies. Work with your child and you’ll all find eating vegetables to be an enjoyable, tasty and healthy experience.
-by Rachael Wilkenfeld