Teach Your Kids To Love Their Veggies Using These Tips
Most parents will agree that it is not easy to ask our children to eat their vegetables.
We often resort to elaborate negotiations that usually end up in our children’s favor. For something as fundamentally necessary to our health, it can be frustrating to constantly battle with them just to make sure they are eating right and get good habits for later in their life.
Serving nutritious food to your kids should not feel like negotiating a peace treaty, but it often does!
Though it can be a struggle, it is better for us parents to encourage our kids to eat healthy without resorting to bribes.
Below are techniques us parents can take to heart to help our kids overcome their hatred for vegetables and appreciate the time and effort we have poured into preparing them.
Here are the tips that every parent can adopt to help their kids grow fond of delicious vegetables.
Refrain From Sneaking In Vegetables
Sneaking in their vegetables with other foods they love could be the easiest way to make them eat vegetables. However, it would be best to refrain from this habit. After all, what kind of message are we sending when we intentionally hide what’s supposed to be good for them? How good could it be?
Masking vegetables this way will only make children believe that vegetables are undesirable. This is not an effective technique in making our kids to get to like their vegetables. Yes, they will get to eat them, but the goal here is to teach them that the dining table does not have to be a battlefield.
Make Vegetables Tastier
Boiled vegetables are often neglected by our children as they are tasteless and bland. What you can do is stir fry them using sesame oil or butter. You can also caramelize beets, dress salads, steam vegetables and prepare a cheese dip on the side. These are usually the kind of vegetable preparations that pass their taste buds.
Every parent with a picky eater should start learning how to prepare meals more creatively. Keeping Tip # 1 in mind, do not just mask vegetables with other tasty foods. If possible, make them the star of your meal. Research online cooking tips how to make vegetables delicious.
Poorly cooked vegetables will only reinforce their dislike for them. So as a parent or the main cook in your home, harness your skills in the kitchen first and foremost.
Let Them Choose
Let your children have some autonomy in choosing what goes on their plates by giving them options. If your kids are old enough to know what their favorite color is, you can let them choose what vegetable they want to eat. You just have to ask and prepare them the best way you can.
Be A Role Model
It is imperative that parents model good eating habits. If you are one who also hates vegetables but prefer to teach your kids to love them, you need to show them that you love eating vegetables even if you have to put up a convincing act.
This means as a parent, you have to be mindful of your diet and eat the food without making negative comments. When parents make meal exceptions for themselves and start picking on their food, children will also pick up this habit.
The simplest way to achieve this is by developing your own liking for some vegetable dishes, so it all feels natural.
If you have prepared vegetables for your dinner and your child profusely rejects hard work, do not give up. Instead, try to compromise by suggesting to take at least three bites.
Encourage your child to do so by letting him know how important it is that you hear his opinion about the food you cooked. Doing so will make you hit three goals.
First, you can identify how he prefers his vegetables prepared. Second, he does not get stuck on the idea that broccoli, carrots or any vegetable tastes disgusting. Third, you actually made him eat vegetables.
Do Not Force Them
On some days, kids just do not want to eat their vegetables or any food you prepared for them, adults are the same way. If your child dislikes his meal, try not to pressure him too much to eat it. His dislike for vegetables might grow even further otherwise.
Remember, it is always easier to feed a hungry child. So leave him be and try again later. He will most likely be starving by then and it will be easier on your part to persuade him to eat his carrots and peas.
Cindy Silver, a registered Dietitian and author of the book “Need Help Mom” suggests that starting a food tasting club at home will encourage your children to eat vegetables.
You can start by having a veggie-tasting dinner once a week, preferably on the weekends where everybody at home can relax and enjoy the moment. Make sure each person in the house tastes every single dish.
Everyone should cast their votes on which dish tastes the best and this kind of input can help every mom understand the palate and flavor range their kids prefer.