Getting kids to eat their veggies
Encouraging kids to eat their vegetables can be difficult, especially if it’s a new food they haven’t tried before. Next time you’re fighting the dinnertime battle, consider these tips to ensure your kids enjoy a wide range of nutrients in their diet.
1. Make food fun
Making food fun is a great way to capture the interest and imagination of your child. You may like to arrange the food on the plate in a smiley face, or prepare food in a way that’s fun to eat, such as peeling apples in a swirl or sticking broccoli florets into mashed potato like a mini ‘forest’. Kids love the idea of having a treat, so try to incorporate fruit and vegetables into treats wherever you can. For example, try mixing berry-flavoured Olive Leaf Extract with blackcurrant juice and pop in the freezer for a healthy ice block kids will enjoy.
2. Get them involved
Getting kids involved in the preparation of food can give them a sense of pride and may make them more cooperative when it’s time for dinner. Researchers at Columbia University found that kids were more likely to eat vegetables and whole grains if they were involved in the process of cooking the foods themselves, so you may like to let your children pick a couple of vegetables in the supermarket and help you wash, peel and prepare them in the kitchen. Starting a herb garden or veggie patch is another way to give kids a sense of ownership of their food and get them excited about eating vegetables.
3. Set a good example
Studies show that children’s eating habits are primarily influenced by the parent’s eating habits, attitudes and beliefs. Try to set a good example and eat all of your vegetables with a positive attitude, so they become a regular part of every meal.
4. Keep trying new foods
Kids are experimental by nature, so encourage them to try new foods at home and when you’re eating out. They often need to see a parent or other role model trying a new food before trying it themselves, so consider giving them a ‘taste’ of your meal so they can start to experience new flavours and textures. Children may need to be served a new food a number of times before they try it, and then taste it 10 times or more before they actually like it, so be patient and keep trying.
5. Use familiar flavours
Kids naturally like sweet and salty foods, so you may like to add natural sauces and flavourings to vegetables such as melted cheese or fresh tomato sauce, to make them more appealing. Offering a new food amongst familiar and enjoyed foods may also encourage kids to try something new.
What are your tips and tricks for getting kids to eat their vegetables?