Want Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables, Try this...
Every parent wants their kids to eat their vegetables, but sometimes it feels impossible. Kids flat-out refusing foods they've never tried, insisting on the same processed foods over and over, or throwing full-blown tantrums at dinnertime. If this sounds familiar to you, it's time to change your approach. Here are some ways you can do to inspire your kids to eat their vegetables.
Lead by Example and Be PersistentEvery parent knows how frustrating it is when your child claims to hate a vegetable he's never tried. But if you give up there, you're taking the wrong approach. Kids need frequent and repeated exposure to new foods to grow accustomed to them. Once a food is familiar, kids are more likely to try it. Even after trying a new food, it may take a few times before a child decides he likes it.
Serve vegetables every day and set a positive example by eating and enjoying them yourself. Use positive language to talk about vegetables and encourage your child to try them, but don't engage in power struggles. According to Today's Parent, the most effective strategy for getting children to try disliked vegetables isn't forcing them to taste it, but “a combination of repeated daily exposure, offering non-food rewards for trying the disliked food and parents eating the same food as the child.”
Mix Up Your CookingAre you serving up well-seasoned vegetables in a variety of appetizing dishes or dishing out steamed vegetables with nothing more than salt and pepper? As adults, we happily dig into a serving of steamed vegetables because we know it's good for us. Kids, on the other hand, are more interested in how their food looks and tastes than what it does for their health.
Following recipes and trying new recipes all the time is the best way to improve your cooking. You'll be exposed to different cooking methods and flavor combinations and gradually grow your pantry to include a wide range of spices and staples.
Cooking is a lot more enjoyable when you're using the right cookware. With quality knives and pans, you can spend more time actually cooking and less time dealing with stuck-on food and knives that won't cut. The materials your cookware is made out of also affect how well heat is distributed; the more even the heat distribution, the more evenly your food is cooked.
If you’re always rushed at dinner, consider adding a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or Instant Pot to your kitchen. These cooking tools make it easier to prepare healthy, homemade meals with limited time.
Get Kids InvolvedWhen kids are involved in growing, selecting and cooking their food, they're more enthusiastic about eating it. If you have extra space in the backyard, try growing a vegetable garden. Kids who garden eat more vegetables than kids who don't, and Reuters reports that those healthy eating habits remain even after kids head to college.
If you don't have a garden, you can still get kids involved in your family's food choices. Ask kids for help selecting fruits and vegetables at the farmers market and grocery store, and when it's time for dinner, give kids a say in which vegetable you serve. If you're willing to slow down meal prep a bit, kids can help chop, stir and season from a young age. By getting kids involved in dinner prep, you reduce the odds they turn their noses up at the final product.
If you've taken these steps and your kids are still refusing to eat their vegetables, be patient. Some children are more difficult than others, but they all need nutritious foods just the same. Keep offering healthy meals and creating positive experiences around food. Eventually, your persistence will pay off.
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Mary shares her desire to create different possibilities for families and individuals who are looking to live a more conscious and aware lifestyle. BE YOU Parenting is for parents who want to BE all that they truly BE and to allow their kids the same privilege.