On Mother’s Day, I thought it was appropriate to share an article about keeping your children healthy. As mothers, we try every day to help our children maintain health and happiness. Getting your child to eat their fruit and vegetables can be challenging at times and finding creative ways to help facilitate this can always be helpful! I am excited to share this article by Shirley Wilson about creative ways to get your kids to eat their greens.
Shirley Wilson is the proud mother of two beautiful children. She has been writing informational blog posts for parents for a few years now and hopes she can help with your questions and concerns with parenting. You can visit her blog Top Ten Strollers or follow her on twitter.
Happy Mothers Day and a special thank you to Shirley!
Getting kids to eat their veggies can be a nightmare for parents. Let me tell you I have been locked in 20-30 minute debates with a two-year-old on such subject only to lose the argument and lose some hair on my head.
Don’t worry though we will give you some creative ways to help even the pickiest of eaters to eat some greens.
Why Kids Don’t Like Veggies
It’s important to understand why kids naturally are nervous or hesitant to eat greens. Most veggies have a flavor profile of tart, or bitter. As humans, we have been programmed to like sweet foods. Why? Sweet-tasting foods almost never are poisonous while bitter foods can be. Our ancestors learned this and tended to eat more sweet foods to survive longer.
Knowing this is important because it can help calm you down in the heat of battle. Understanding that refusal of eating veggies is natural and nothing against you is very critical. Your child is not out to get you, doing it to spite you, or just a close minded individual. Your child is just doing what was natural for human survival.
They Just Ate this Last Week What is Going On?
Research shows that it will take a little one eight to ten times to try the food before they inform a rational opinion on the food. That means if the child dislikes the veggie don’t give up it could take seven or nine more times of trying the veggie to like it.
It is also important to know the right serving sizes to try and feed your little ones. Different vegetables will have different effects on your little one’s digestive track. Making sure the right portions are there is important not to have an adverse digestive experience. A guide to baby carrots, for example, can be found here.
Tips and Tricks to Get your Kids to Eat Veggies
Now that we are aware we are up against evolution we can start trying different approaches to get our little ones to try vegetables.
Let Them Help You Cook The Meal
A child will be far more excited and likely to eat every piece of food prepared if they were the ones who made it. Let them help you cook the veggies even giving them the option to help cook it “yummy.”
Ask them if you should put cheese on the broccoli or if they would rather put a little salt/soy sauce. Giving them the option makes them own it more and will get them want to try their yummy creation.
Let Them Use Cool Gadgets
Little ones find kitchen appliances fascinating, and we often take this for granted. Letting them use a blender, for example, is an excellent way to get them excited about eating greens. Not only do they get to play with a cool toy, but you can add yogurt, fruit, and milk along with greens to make a super healthy smoothie with some sweetness too it.
Letting them use the oven or even microwave also works too. With the oven, you can help the child preheat it using numbers and buttons. Then you get to let them prepare the veggies and assist them in putting it in the oven. Let them set the timer, and the whole experience is theirs.
Make Your Main Course Less Desirable
The idea of a bland main course sounds crazy, but a study was done at Texas A&M looking at trays after lunch. What they found was on days where the main dish was more attractive i.e. hamburger or hot dog the veggies were consumed far less than when the main dish was a baked potato.
We have listed some main course ideas for you to help make veggies look more appeasing.
- Baked Potato
- Chicken Breast
- Noodle Frittata
Grow A Garden
Growing a garden just builds on the first two ideas of letting them be involved in the foods. Even if you don’t have a yard or ton of space for a garden, you can group a couple of veggies in some pots on the window seal. Your child will love watching the progress of the vegetable growing and will be more than likely to eat it.
The biggest things to remember when trying to get your child to eat greens is that she is not doing this to you, just doing what is natural. It will take multiple times before a valid opinion will be formed on the food so keep at it, and from one parent to another I say Good Luck!