How To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables:
Kids need a balanced meal to stay healthy and grow well. But for most children, balanced meals are plain ‘boring’! For mothers, feeding children nutritious food is a battle. For some reason, most kids have an unbending hatred for vegetables. Getting kids to eat vegetables is a herculean task.
Vegetables form an integral part of a healthy diet. In fact, we all need a good amount of veggies every day to stay at our fittest (1). But the harsh reality is that most kids today are not getting enough vegetables in their diet. They fail to meet the government-based dietary recommendation. In fact, the amount of vegetable a child consumes, goes down as he ages. And for those who do claim to eat vegetables, the vegetable in question is mostly potatoes in the form of fries and chips! (2)
So, what are you supposed to do in such a scenario? How do you ensure that your kid gets ample vegetables in his diet? We have the solution for you!
Helping Kids Become Friends With Vegetables:
Just follow the tips mentioned here on how to get kids to eat vegetables:
1. Lead By Example:
Kids learn what they see. You are your kid’s biggest hero. So, lead by example. If you tend to make faces while eating vegetables, your kid is sure to catch on and do the same (3). So, show your love for vegetables (pretend if you got to). Also make sure that vegetables are not an option, they are mandatory.
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2. Take The Stress Out:
In most households, meal times are often stressful. Kids face admonishment for their refusal to eat healthy food, which in turn makes them even more stubborn. Scolding is never an effective tool to get your kid to eat (4). Stop the cycle. Instead, make meal times more fun. Use vegetables as accessories while playing makes believe games. Relate vegetables with things your kid loves. You can also include different vegetables to give your child’s meal a dash of color. You can also try serving vegetables as different shapes and patterns to get your kid interested. Another thing you can do to make vegetables interesting is to give them cute names! How about calling spinach ‘Popeye’? Get creative!
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3. Make Your Kid Your Partner:
If you want your child to be interested in food, all kinds of food, let them be an active partner. Take them along while you go grocery shopping. Allow them to help you cook. In fact, if you have a garden, let them plant their vegetable patch! These small steps will go a long way in making vegetables seem all that more desirable (5).
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4. Use The ‘One Bite’ Rule:
Do you tend to despair when your child rejects a food? Don’t. According to studies, it is after repeated exposure that kids learn to appreciate diverse tastes and flavors (6). So, don’t take rejection to heart. Take a break for a few days and give your child the same dish again. And make sure he takes at least one bit. The ‘one bite rule’ should be non-negotiable at your home.
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5. Make Good Behavior Fruitful:
While you take away the stress from meal times, try and introduce some positives too. According to research, the temptation of reward – be it in the shape of a hug, a little sticker, or a toy – can go a long way in encouraging kids to try vegetables (7).
6. Speak Their Language:
You and your kid live in different worlds, with different realities. What appears common sense to you, can seem stupid to your kid. So, try and look at it from your child’s perspective. Telling your kid that vegetables are ‘healthy’ won’t work. Tell him that the broccoli is a great way to gain some height – now that should get him interested!
7. Make It Tasty:
Don’t hesitate to use different flavors and additives to make vegetables more attractive. If your kid likes cheese or bacon, incorporate them in your vegetable dish.
8. Organize ‘Veggie’ Nights:
Just like bingo nights! Reserve one night each week for veggies. Make it fun. Serve up just veggies on this night and make it all fun and games.
9. Be Sneaky:
Learn recipes that allow you to hide vegetables under the guise of your child’s favorite dishes. Pizza, burger, shrimp dumplings, quesadillas – the choice is endless.
10. Bribe With Dessert:
If nothing works, use bribery! Promise your kid his favorite dessert if he finishes his veggies. Not the best of tactics, but it does work!
The main thing you need is patience. Keep at it. It may be easier to give in and let your kid eat junk food. But if you persevere, you’ll give you child good eating habits. That’s a priceless gift in today’s world!
These were some ways on how to make kids eat vegetables.Does your kid like his veggies? How do you ensure that he gets sufficient vegetables with his meals? Share your tips with us.
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