How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables?
Kids can be ridiculously stubborn when it comes to eating vegetables, and when they are allowed to choose what to eat - cakes and cookies will win most of the time. Getting children to eat more vegetable can seem like an endless battle. There are advertisements for processed foods everywhere, often using children’s stars and role models to promote the products. It is not so surprising that diabetes and obesity are becoming so prevalent.
But fear not: there are some effective ways how to get your kids to eat more vegetables, given a degree of persistence and perseverance.
Set an example - children learn by imitating their parents. If you want them to eat vegetables, you have to eat them too. Increase food rich in nutrients, plant-based food, vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, nuts, and so on in your diet. You cannot teach your kids to eat vegetables while you sneak in fries or burgers on the side. The kids will follow your behaviour because, although it may not always seem to be the case, parents are the biggest role model in their lives.
Talk to them - communication is key. Talk to your children about why they should eat more and different vegetables. Explain to them that the nutrients in vegetables and fruits help to keep them well, grow stronger bone, and make the brain work better. You should also tell them that eating unhealthy food has direct consequences such as overweight, acne, and other problems.
Get them involved - children have more interest in the meal if they are involved in its preparation. You can take them to the local market or grocery store, and also let them pick one or two vegetables to cook for the next dinner. Even better, you can also involve them in planting vegetables in the garden. Let them clean the vegetables, tear the salad leaves, mix the dressing. Helping to set the table will also encourage their cooperation at mealtime.
Do not make them eat - if your child will only eat a few bites, leave him or her be and do not force them to finish up. Coercion, arguments and punishments only deliver a negative experience. If they have five bites today, maybe tomorrow they will have six bites. The aim is to have steady progress, and to encourage the children to try many different vegetables and fruits.
Arrange the food to attract the kids’ attention - You can cook a variety of vegetables and arrange them on the plate. Raw vegetables can be arranged to form a face, or a flower. Fruit can be cut into a fruit salad and served in cups. Food that looks attractive always goes down better!
And just one last tip: if there are fresh, washed, cut up and nicely arranged fruits and vegetables on the table when the kids are home, they are more than likely to just go ahead and nosh on them by themselves without needing any special encouragement from you.