12 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Eat Veggies
Are you struggling to make your kids eat veggies? Are you on the verge of giving up on trying to make them eat their greens? And reds? And yellows? And purples? Well, don’t give up yet. I am sharing 12 easy ways for you to get children to eat more vegetables.
1. Lead by Example
You are your child’s role model. If you eat your vegetables, they will start following you soon enough. Start by eating your meals together and showing them discreetly that you love your vegetables. You can even share stories about how you hated a particular vegetable initially but developed a liking for it. Motivation is the name of the game.
2. Enforce One Bite Rule
I often tell my daughter – eat just one bite to get a taste of the dish. And often it has worked after 7-8 attempts. She develops the taste and doesn’t mind eating it. That’s all you want – they do not need to love every bit of it; you would be happy if they simple finish it.
3. Mix and Match
Serve one vegetable dish with another (not-so-healthy) dish of your kid’s choice. Or add lots of veggies in pizza, burgers and noodles.
4. Make them Understand the Benefits
Never try to heap rules like you HAVE to eat your veggies if you want TV time. That only makes them hate the food more. Instead explain to them that they will grow big and strong like their superheroes if they eat vegetables. Because that is what the superheroes do.
5. Make the Food Look Tempting
Arrange the food in different patterns and use garnishing liberally to temp children into eating it. If you arrange baked vegetables in a heart or circular shape and make a smiley over it, see how fast it gets polished off the plate.
6. Add Flavors
Vegetable dishes need not be bland and tasteless. Add your child’s favorite flavors like garlic, cinnamon or lemon grass to enhance taste and make the child feel comfortable. If the child is familiar with the taste, you will need to make that much less effort.
7. Add Variety to the Table
Children get bored of routine easily. So give them different colored vegetables every day. Even nutritionists say that you need to eat foods of all colors to get complete benefit. So if it’s green broccoli one day, make it red carrots or yellow bell peppers the next day.
8. Use Positive Reinforcement
Always praise your child for eating his portion of vegetables. This praise could come in form of extra play time or an activity together or just a high five. Do whatever you use for rewarding other positive behavior.
9. Grow Your Own Veggies
If you have space, start a kitchen garden and involve your kids in growing vegetables. They will look forward to eating vegetables they helped to grow.
10. Take Your Kid Shopping
Take your kid along when you go shopping and ask her to choose the vegetables. She will feel responsible about eating it if she helped making the choice.
11. Cooking Time with Mommy
Make your child wear the chef’s hat. They will love it if you ask them to help with chopping, mixing or serving. And they will be love eating the food they helped prepare.
12. Perseverance Pays
Do not get disheartened if your child refuses to eat the vegetable dishes. Keep at it and you will get results. One mouthful or a couple of bites later you will see that one day the bowl is empty. Your kid has eaten the veggies without a fuss.
Go ahead and try these methods with a positive frame of mind and you are bound to get results. Your child will develop the good habit of eating her portion of vegetables without fuss, and may even look forward to it.