Many kids tend to be picky eaters, but they tend to be especially difficult when they see vegetables on their plates. No matter the challenge, it is important that you get them to eat those greens if you want them to start off on a healthy diet as young kids. So, how do other parents encourage kids to eat vegetables?
Be a Good Model
Your kids imitate what you do, which is why baby girls love wearing their mom’s heels or boys love to pretend like they can fill dad’s shoes. If they see you eating your greens deliciously, they might be encouraged to do the same.
Make Your Meals Fun
As parents, you need to put all your creative power to get your picky kids to eat. For instance, you can tell them that they are little dinosaurs who have to eat small trees, which are actually broccoli, so they’ll grow bigger. Make them realize that eating healthy food like vegetables is fun as you play pretend and tell fantastic stories.
Take them to the market and let them pick the fruits and vegetables you’re going to prepare for dinner. If you have the area, start a small vegetable patch and let them help in raising the plants. If they feel a sense of pride over your little harvest of carrots, beans, or tomatoes, it would be easier for you to encourage kids to eat vegetables.
One Bite Rule
According to a study, it takes 8 to 10 bites for kids to finally tolerate the food. Once they feel familiar with the vegetables you’re feeding them, they won’t refuse to eat them next time. Problem solved.
Hold Your Comments
If you see vegetable leftovers on their plate, bite your tongue from saying, “Finish your food!” Forcing them to do so won’t change their behavior. Fighting with them over food will give them a negative experience, which will only worsen their picky eating tendencies.
Reward Good Behavior
Even if your child only took one bite of the food you’re offering, reward them with praises or other things. This will help create a positive association with food, helping them over their picky eating phase.
Know Your Child’s Desires
Children don’t usually understand what being healthy means. Instead, they’re more focused on how to grow bigger and stronger, desires which you can use to encourage kids to eat vegetables. Convince them that those greens they are setting aside on their plate will make them grow.
Play with Colors
Prepare colorful vegetables for your kids, but don’t mix them. Give them in separate vegetable dishes instead.
Make your vegetable dishes more attractive by preparing them in patterns. Take your time to arrange the healthy dishes into a smiley face, a heart, or even into their favorite cartoon character during special days. It will surely help encourage kids to eat vegetables.
Add Garlic, Bacon, and Butter
Let your kids familiarize themselves with the vegetables first by adding familiar flavors, such as bacon, cheese, garlic, and butter. They will need the extra calories anyway.
Make Some Magic
It doesn’t hurt to use some smoke and mirrors to introduce more vegetables to your child’s diet. Here are some magic tricks that you can use:
- Puree some vegetables and add them to soups, pizza or spaghetti sauces, mashed potatoes, Mac-n-cheese, or in between lasagna layers.
- Switch things up, like using spaghetti squash instead of noodles, packaged veggie crumbles instead of taco meat, and more.
- Put some veggie goodness in baked goods, such as burying frozen spinach into your brownie mix, using white-bean puree instead of butter, or putting shredded carrots or zucchini into breads and muffins.
- Prepare a veggie-juice cocktail. Just add apple juice to carrot juice, or pour veggie-fruit juices into ice pop trays and feed them to make it more fun.