One of the challenges parents face is getting their kids to love eating vegetables. Leafy green vegetables and herbs are among the most powerful, beneficial foods for overall health. Vegetables can decrease the likelihood of contracting certain kinds of cancers, support bone growth in kids due to vitamin K, calcium and magnesium, reduce inflammation etc. So here is how parents can make their kids (all ages) love vegetables.
Make sure you offer greens from day one. It’s easier to get your kids to eat vegetables if they’ve always done it. Make sure greens become a natural part of their diet. We haven’t been good enough at getting these foods on the plate from an early point of life.
One way to sneak greens into kids’ diet is to mix it with fruit. There are tons of salads parents can make with fruits like apples, pineapples, strawberries, etc. Mix in things like raisins to sweeten the deal. However, it’s important that the salad doesn’t contain just fruit. The key is to mix things like carrots, red onions and peppers into the salads. Sure, the kids can try to avoid the vegetables, but it’s not going to be easy. Especially if a parent chops or slices the fruit as well as the greens in small pieces then mix them together.
Involve them in the preparation
Helping select the veggies at the supermarket (or sending the kids to find particular veggies in the fruit & vegetable section) encourages kids to be involved with their vegetables. Encouraging kids in the kitchen by helping with the preparation while you’re preparing the meals, also helps.
Produce your own
Growing veggies gives kids a sense of accomplishment (as it does for adults).They often want to eat what they have grown themselves. However, parents should only do it if they have the space. Remember to do some research on how to maximize on the limited space at home and grow vegetables.
Choose age appropriate portions
Different ages are able to manage different quantities so ensure that you give amounts that won’t overwhelm them but will still ensure they are exposed to greens. Giving them portions they can manage will encourage them to want to eat the vegetable again.
Try different veggies each day or prepare them differently
Different vegetable each day helps to introduce kids more extensively. Parents might also consider preparing them in different ways to not only expose them to the taste of particular vegetable but also to the many different ways to consume them.
Go for the easy to eat at different times
We often just think of greens with the evening meal but keep in mind that you can have them at many different times during the day. For example, try mushrooms or avocado on toast for breakfast or cherry tomatoes for snacks (these are particularly enticing if the kid has grown them themselves and small cherry tomato plants can be grown simply yet successfully in small pots on window sills.
Be a good example
This is perhaps the most important tip parents should always consider if they want to make their kids love vegetables. A child will most definitely not put a single spoon of greens in his mouth if the parent doesn’t like it herself. Parenting is much about setting a good example you want your kids to emulate. Parents who prefer some greens should make sure they show their kids how delicious they are and why they should eat them.
Avoid processed foods
One big mistake most parents make is feed their kids on processed foods more than other natural foods. It is important to understand that the less refined and proceeds foods the child eats the more likely he/she is to eat vegetables. Some of the foods to be limited for the kids include fatty dairy products, soda, meats and sugar.
Having said that, those put in charge of kids should understand that handling them is not as easy as handling a grownup. Kids are bound to overpower you and win at the end of the day. So, you have to be tactical when handling and introducing new things to them. Otherwise, following the above tips will make a difference.