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How to Get Kids Eat Vegetables and Come Back for More

 

 

 

 

By Martha Sanders

 

Getting kids to eat vegetables is a daunting task for many parents. However, with a little patience and clever tricks, you can literally watch your kids eat vegetables right before your eyes. Here are some really good ideas to inspire you...

 

Fun Ways to Make Your Kids Eat Veggies

1. Allow your kids to play with their vegetables. Cut up some carrot sticks, cucumber rounds, cherry tomatoes and arrange them on a plate. Your kid can make a face using cucumber rounds for the eyes, carrot sticks for eyebrows, cherry tomatoes for the nose, a slice of red pepper for mouth, watercress or even shredded cheese for hair, etc.

My daughter, who is 4 years old, and likes dressing up, choose to arrange her peas on the plate so that they resemble pearl necklace. Then she pops the peas one by one into her mouth; though it's terribly slow but I know at least she's eating some vegetables.

 

 

2. You might want to try introducing sweeter vegetables such as pumpkins to your kid's palate first rather than flaccid and bland tasting veggies like broccoli and kale.

Kids' taste buds are far more sensitive than adults, and many kids have a very strong negative reaction to bitter flavours, making foods like spinach, brussels sprouts, and asparagus really unpalatable. The trick is to start out slow and gradually increase the variety as your kid's taste changes.

 

 

3. Don't force your kid to eat an entire portion of greens that he doesn't like. Keep the portion small and manageable for growing tummy, maybe about three bites until he begins to develop a liking to the food.

If your kid doesn't eat, don't force-feed. Wait a reasonable amount of time (say, 20 minutes) and then take the plate away without fuss. If you make it a negative experience by raising your voice or forcing your kid to eat, that will only perpetuate the vegetable-hating as he'll be more likely to associate vegetables with negativity. Also, remember to praise him when he eat his greens.

 

 

4. Introduce your kid to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as earlier in life as possible, and  serve them often. Kids need to be exposed to a new food as many as 10 to 15 times before they'll accept it. Most parents give up after less than 3 attempts.

 

 

5. If you can’t make your children eat vegetables, make them drink it. Pour some vegetable juice over ice and dress up with a fancy straw (Spongebob does the trick for me), an attractive cocktail umbrella or a stick of celery, and watch them drink it up.

Homemade smoothies is an excellent way to sneak in some fruits. Although your kids may not get as much fiber as eating the whole fruit and vegetable, getting them to drink their juices is better than not getting any fruits and vegetables at all.

 

 

6. Always have some fresh fruits like apples, bananas, plums and oranges in a bowl on the kitchen table, and ready to eat. It's also good to have some celery and carrots on the top shelf of the refrigerator that have been washed and cut.

 

 

7. Involve your kids in cooking, food preparation or serving of the vegetables at mealtimes , such as letting  kids smash cooked potatoes with a hand masher. When kids are involved, they feel helpful and proud. If they’re proud of the meal, they’ll want to eat it. Reinforce this by praising the vegetable dish they helped to prepare.

 

 

8. Be a good example and eat your greens too! Moms have a particularly strong impact on their daughters' habits. Moms who follow fad diets and speak negatively about their bodies are more likely to have daughters with unhealthy eating patterns. If you want your kids to have a healthy relationship with food, then make sure you have one.

 

 

9. Get your kid involved in selecting vegetables and fruits. If your kid is always selecting the same vegetable, don't throw open ended questions like "What do you want to pick?". Instead give him a choice between two other vegetables, such as “Shall we buy cauliflower or broccoli?". By doing that, kids can have an active role in decision-making. Moreover, a trip to the grocery store also helps kids experience the sight, smell and scent of fresh produce.

 

 

10. If possible, create a small vegetable garden and have your kids help with the entire growing process. Kids usually get excited when it comes to harvesting and they'll learn a lot more instead of wincing at strange vegetables on their plates. More often than not, kids feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in having taken part in their efforts.

 

 

11. Be creative. Tell stories that feature the veggies they're about to eat and the great wild adventures they are going to have.  

 

 

12. Or, pick a colour theme and then, buy fruits and vegetables that match that colour. You can get your kid into the mood by dressing him in the same colour too. For example, on "yellow" day, he puts on a yellow T-shirt, snack on bananas, and you make pizza topped with yellow peppers. On a "purple" day, eggplants and grapes, and so on.

 

 

With a little creativity, getting kids to eat vegetables can be as simple as ABC!

 

how to get kids to eat vegetables

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