Ok, let’s face it mom, if you’re child does not like vegetables, your home is probably not the happiest place when dinner time rolls around. Whether it’s because your child refuses to eat them or you are trying everything to think of to get him or her to, the veggie battle can no doubt be a harsh fought one.
Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore
The outcome, no matter which side of the fence you’re on is not a good one. If you win, your kid feels horrible because you just made them eat the nastiest thing ever. If the child wins, you feel awful because you know they are not getting the nutrients they need for optimal health. Not to mention, you know eating habits are set early so the odds that your child will ever really like vegetables probably isn’t all that great either way. They’ll have bad memories associated with these foods due to mom making them eat them or they’ll just avoid them altogether because they still taste gross when they grow up.
Ah seems like a never ending battle doesn’t it? Fret not, there is a way (quite a few actually) to get your kids to eat their veggies without any nightmares once they are adults or you feeling like a rotten mom. Read on for tips to help you give your children the vegetables their growing bodies need – even if they don’t know it.
Eat your own – With kids, especially young ones it really is “Monkey See, Monkey Do.” If your children see you eating and enjoying (or at least pretending to enjoy) your vegetables, they will be more open to doing the same.
Make the child a part of it all – Let your kids help you cook meals. Even little ones can help out in the kitchen in one way or another. If you get them involved in your meal preparation, they will come to love the kitchen and the time they have with you. Seeing how something is made also helps some kids realize peas are nothing more than any other bean.
Let ‘em play – Let’s face it, if it’s boring to look at kids probably won’t like it. Have a little fun and play. Create cute faces with your vegetables on a paper plate and let your kids “play” with their food by switching the veggies around to come up with some funny faces of their own.
Crunchy versus soft – Many times, it’s not the vegetable the child doesn’t like, but instead the consistency. Some kids don’t like the crunchiness of raw veggies and others can’t stand the feel of mushy peas and carrots. If you’ve been offering your child a cooked version of vegetables, try serving them raw and vice versa. That could be all it takes.
Dippers – There’s just something about dipping our food that seems to make them taste better. Kids especially love it. Think French fries and ketchup. They just taste better with a little topping of some sort. Offer your child raw veggies with a ranch or other dipping sauce.
Bottoms up – Some children, who normally refuse to eat their veggies, don’t have a problem drinking them, especially in the form of smoothies. Try blending up a variety of fruits and veggies in a daily basis to give your little munchkins.
Hide & seek – Some parents don’t like this idea, but if you’ve got a child who simply refuses to eat their vegetables all of the time, trying hiding them in things like muffins, sauces and more. They’ll never know it’s in there!
No separate meals – It’s easy to resort to feeding your little ones the foods they will eat just to make sure they are eating something. This gives them the idea they don’t have to eat what the rest of the family eats because mom or dad will give them what they want instead. Make the same meal for everyone. The only exceptions should be if your child is on a special diet due to allergies or other health related issues.
Don’t force it – If you’ve heard the term “Choose your battles wisely,” you’ll soon realize it very well could have been thought up by a parent. Don’t force your child to eat their vegetables. Using some of the tips above will help to avoid the battles.
The last tip is one we all parents know very well. Consistency is needed by children in every part of their life and healthy eating is no exception, so keep trying. Sometimes a battle with kids and vegetable eating can be tiring and stressful, making it easy to give up. Yes, kids can be stubborn, but eventually they will come around and in the long run they might even thank you for sticking to your guns on this issue. Even if they don’t utter those two little words, their body and health will.