Five Steps to Make Certain That Your Kids Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
We all know how important fruits and vegetables are to nutrition, and how difficult it can sometimes be to get children to eat them. Here are five steps to make sure your kids eat more fruits and vegetables.
Children can be remarkably fussy eaters, and it’s a natural part of every child’s development for them to express autonomy and independence by refusing to eat something, even something that they enjoy. Don’t lose patience with them for this; use these ideas to help them learn to eat foods that are good for them.
Idea 1: Make Them Tasty
Additives Can Help
There are many things that you can add to vegetables to make them more appealing, depending on your child’s tastes. Iceberg lettuce is pretty boring; it’s all of the things that people can put on top of it that brings them to the salad bar.
- Butter This one is traditional in my family, and it works. I never needed to fuss at the kids to get them to eat plenty of vegetables with butter on top.
- Cheese Shredded or in a cheese sauce on top can make the vegetable a kid’s favorite part of the meal.
- Bacon Crumbles mixed in can make even spinach appealing.
- Garlic any seasoning that your kids like. If they don’t like the flavor of cauliflower, adding a flavor that they do like to it will help them enjoy it.
- Sunflower seed kernels this adds a bit of crunch if what they dislike about a vegetable is the texture.
People have been dressing up their vegetables for centuries. Sauces and seasonings, in particular, have been used all over the globe to make vegetables more appealing.
Let Them Choose
You can even ask your kids for suggestions. They will likely have more enthusiasm for the idea when it’s their own, even if it doesn’t work out to be a good flavor combination.
Try to keep them to healthy things to eat, of course, but if they want to try corn flakes on their peas, let them. It won’t hurt them, and they may find themselves enjoying it.
Idea 2: Let Them Opt Out
Once my kids had gotten into that “I don’t wanna because I want to not wanna” stage, they were each allowed to choose one food that they could refuse. Having that choice helped them to get past that stage, fairly quickly.
Giving them this choice made it easier for them to accept foods that weren’t their favorites but weren’t what they had chosen, either. Skipping the vegetable that the rest of the family was eating was rare, and didn’t do them any harm.
Having that choice can be more important to the child’s development than that serving of broccoli is about their nutrition. Swapping in another convenient vegetable, such as baby carrots, is also an option.
Idea 3: Let Them Grow Their Own
If a garden is possible, great. If not, a window box or potted plant usually is.
If you can encourage a child’s interest in gardening, letting them grow their choice of vegetable for the dinner table is certain to add to their excitement in seeing it on their plate.
Watching (and helping) plants grow from seedlings into a crop is often a magical experience for children. Even if it doesn’t turn into a lifelong passion for them, it’s an important educational experience, as well.
Gardening offers many other benefits to children, as well. Caring for growing plants helps them to hone their responsibility, and expand their self-esteem.
Idea 4: Use A ‘One Bite’ Rule
Research shows that children who are repeatedly exposed to food that they don’t initially enjoy learn to like it with repeated exposure. After ten times of taking one bite, they are more likely to accept it, eat more of it, and report enjoying it.
Many parents use this method, requiring one honest bite of food that the child refuses. This gets the child accustomed to it gradually, without it ever becoming a battle at the dinner table.
Conflict at mealtime is disturbing to everyone present, not just the people involved. It disrupts proper digestion, as well.
Forcing children to eat foods that they don’t like won’t change their behavior. In fact, it’s likely to make them an even pickier eater.
So, if you’re using the ‘one bite’ rule, don’t make them finish. You can wheedle them into trying more of something that they’ve had several times, but let it be their decision, and it will work better.
Idea 5: Let Them Help
Get your children involved in the entire process, as soon as they are able? When they’re with you at the grocery store, talk with them about the foods that you’re choosing.
This doesn’t mean that they should get the final say over what is chosen, but them having a voice, with their opinions taken into account, will make the food on the dinner table more appealing to them.
It also becomes a teaching experience at the store, where you can teach your child about comparison-shopping. It’s an important life skill for them to learn.
Children who become picky eaters are often unhappy about new foods because they’re an unwelcome surprise. This is fairly easy to sidestep.
When you’re putting vegetables into the shopping cart, ask your kid which new vegetable they’d like to try out. If they get to choose, it will be much easier for them to accept at mealtime.
Feeding your children healthy food is an important part of parenting, and if the child is a picky eater, it can be a challenge.
We hope that some of these five steps to make sure your kids eat more fruits and vegetables. Help you to teach them to eat healthy food throughout their whole lives. It’s important.
Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby.com, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health. Check the latest article (When To Start Stage 2 Baby Food?) here.