When my son was a toddler,I had to go through some trial and error every single day.Mealtimes were like challenges for me but I slowly learned some important lessons.Today I'm going to share some ideas that really worked for me and I hope this will help you guide your kids to eat more veggies.
Why Kids Should Eat Vegetables?
Vegetables have high nutritional values which protect us from many diseases like cancer,diabetes and heart diseases.Vegetables are rich in vitamins,minerals,antioxidants,fibers,low in calories and fat free.They are essential for the development of children's brain and body.
Instilling good eating habits in children at an early age can set up a lifelong habit of healthy eating.Getting kids eat more vegetables can sometimes be a battle.It can be intimidating but with a little effort and creativity you can surely do it.
- Make a schedule and be Consistent-Offer kids meals and snacks at the right time.Make veggies a part of your routine and serve atleast one vegetable with every meal.You can choose raw vegetables like carrots,cucumbers,tomatoes or cook a vegetable.
- Experiment with Dips-Try Hummus ,Chutneys and yogurt dips with vegetables. You can find the recipes for some healthy and easy dips in my previous posts.
- Set a Good Example-If you are eating enough vegetables then this will also encourage your kids.Fill your plate half with different kinds of vegetables or salads.Your good eating habits will send the right food message to your kids.
- Let Kids be the Chef-Involve them while cooking.Ask them to pick a vegetable and encourage them to make their own recipes.Kids will love to eat what they have created.
- Plan Weekly Menus with Kids-Take kids to the supermarket and introduce them to the varieties of vegetables available.Explain how each vegetable can help him become stronger and taller.You can find healthy weekly menu plan in my earlier post.
- Fun with Veggies-Make interesting faces with cut vegetables.A blanched broccoli florets may resemble a tree and cauliflower the clever brain which will make him more smart.You can give silly names to your veggie creation.
- Sneak in Veggies-Make carrot purees and add to soups,grate vegetables and add to rice,finely chop bell peppers and onions and add to omelet.
- Do not force your Child to Eat-Don't force your child to eat if he's not hungry or doesn't want to have a particular veggie.This can be frustrating for you but according to experts,forcing children to eat something can make them avoid eating it.
- Introduce New Foods Slowly-Serve some familiar veggies plus one new veggie slowly.Introduce the new vegetable in an interesting way.Make funny stories and ask your child to try it.If you are introducing broccoli tell him how it's different from the cauliflower in colour.Tell him that it's the favourite veggie of his superhero because it gives him strength and keeps his eyes healthy.
- Reward Your Child- Enthusiastically praise your child and reward him for eating vegetables.They will slowly want to try new veggies and will also learn to like them.Introduce rewards into your dining routine and encourage kids to love their veggies.
- Don't Give Up-If your kid still isn't eating vegetables-don't give up.research shows that kids need to taste a food atleast 10 to 15 times before appreciating it's taste.So keep trying.As they grow up their tastes will also change.