As a mother of three very active boys, I do everything in my power to ensure that they are consuming the right foods to ensure they’re growing and thriving. But, I can definitely admit that it can be a daunting task sometimes, not so much for me – but I know that there are parents that have difficulty getting their children to eat right. When I was a kid, there was really no such thing as sweets and my candy was cherry tomatoes… so it is something I have worked on incorporating in my household. Here are a few tips I have on how to get your kids to eat their veggies.
Incorporate veggies in your daily meals…
Everything a child knows is a learned behavior for the most part and that includes what they eat. By incorporating some sort of vegetable into your daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), your child becomes familiar with having it a part of their plate and therefore will want to eat it. Now, sometimes children have a very picky palette and it can be a challenge to include all types of veggies into their daily meals, but remember that fruits are also a great source of vitamins and sometimes telling them that they can have an awesome fruit snack after they complete their meal will work wonders.
Incorporate vegetables in their favorite foods and drinks…
I am a huge Green Juice and Smoothie lover and while the boys are not too fond of the green look, they love the taste because I include fruits in the drink that help to mask the vegetable flavor. One of my favorite combinations includes: Kale, Chard, Spinach, Mango and Banana with Coconut water or coconut oil and cold pure water. The boys love the flavor because they taste the mango and banana but not the greens and they are getting their daily intake of vegetables and vitamins. While this is not my favorite solution, I don’t necessarily hide them in the juice, because I show them the process of how it all comes together and since they love the taste, they are much more willing to try the vegetables on their own. Also, include vegetables in your kids’ favorite meals. My boys love pasta and I incorporate spinach or squash in my pasta as well as other veggies like tomatoes, broccoli and mushrooms – you name it, I have put it in pasta or stir fry. When they are chopped and tossed with the meal that they enjoy, they will love the color as well as the taste.
Popeye the Sailor Man is not exactly popular now a days so using the “eat your spinach so you can have muscles like Popeye” doesn’t exactly work if they don’t know who Popeye is. While that can be a challenge, I like to use references to their favorite cartoon characters and story books when giving my boys vegetables. For example: “Sponge Bob loves to eat Yellow Zucchini because it is yellow like he is”, or placing sliced vegetables like cucumbers on a plate in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. But my all time favorite is when my eldest (now 10 years old) was 2 and seen a baby carrot for the first time. He wasn’t very interested in it at first but realized that it looked just like a Cheeto that he seen on the commercial and wanted to eat it because it was cool. Needless to say, it is one of his favorite vegetables now and because of him, his brothers love them too.
Color your world with veggies…
Vegetables come in so many awesome colors. My sons absolutely love going through the Produce department at my local grocery store and naming the colors of each vegetable as well as learning the names of each one too. As we go through the vegetable department, I ask my sons to each pick out a vegetable that they think looks cool and that they would like to try. Getting them interested in both the colors as well as getting excited to be able to pick out their own makes it easier for them when it is time to eat it. When it’s time to cook it, engage them with what the vegetable looks like on the inside, how it smells and offer it to them raw too, because raw veggies taste great and look better than when they are cooked. Keeping them involved in the cooking process – even if it is to just show them the difference between cooked and raw vegetables will make a huge difference in how excited they will be when it’s time to eat. Of course, if you can include them in the cooking process – it makes a huge difference as well… our favorite is making homemade pizza where the boys can select their own vegetables and toppings to put on their pizza and then they watch it bake. It makes eating anything much more fun and exciting and therefore, delicious. Also – a vegetable garden is a great idea to include your child in learning more about vegetables and fruits. Remember me mentioning in the beginning that I ate my vegetables like it was candy? Well, as a child my parents would grow their own vegetables and because of this as kids we were busy eating them fresh from the garden any time we wanted to, Organic with no pesticides and delicious.
At the end of the day each child is different and it can definitely be a challenge to get any child to eat vegetables. I think that making it fun and exciting in any aspect will surely entice them to eat vegetables daily. Remember that as you include vegetables in your meals and snacks and your children start to like it, they will gravitate more towards vegetables then bad sweets that are no good for them. It’s a process… and once they love them, they will want them consistently and there will no longer be a need to convince them to eat it. Encourage your children to love vegetables by making it a part of your daily food selection and make sure to do this at a young age so they learn to love vegetables and will eat them willingly and enjoy it. This is just a few of my tips that I wanted to share with all of my mommies and daddies or aunts and uncles, so I hope you enjoyed it. Remember to customize any of these tips to fit your lifestyle and family. Happy Veggie Eating!
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