On a top 10 list of most challenging tasks as a parent I would say #2 would be trying to get kids to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. We’re not programmed to love every single food, but that “picky eater” title comes to many kids at a very young age when we haven’t even given them a real shot to be exposed to many foods. It’s a terrible feeling when you’re at your wits end trying to get your child to eat a plethora of foods you know are good for them. It’s even worse when you know your child’s behavior and health could be helped by a more well rounded diet. These 5 Easy Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies will set you on the path to success and kids who want to eat foods that are good for their bodies and mind.
1. Set a good example. If you’re eating asparagus then I bet your child will give it a try too. We all have different food preferences and taste buds, so it’s important to realize your child may or may not enjoy the same foods as you, but watching you eat them is a great start. Kids look up to their parents and want to be like them, so setting a good example is important. If you let your child see how much you’re enjoying vegetables he will follow suit.
2. If your child has tried raw kale a bunch of times and still can’t get it down, it may be worth switching up the way you serve it. Try mixing raw vegetables in new recipes or incorporating the vegetable into other foods, like chips, popsicles, salad, pasta or smoothies! Just switching up how you prepare and serve your vegetables can make a huge difference!
3. We’re not all the same. I have a friend who’s father hated all green vegetables, but when we started working together I made him try a different vegetable each week. Over the years he’s come to love everything from spinach to broccoli to kale. When I asked him why he didn’t think he would like them when I first offered them to him he told me that he didn’t think he would enjoy vegetables just like his father didn’t. It’s amazing how just giving a certain food a try can convince them they’re a Brussels sprouts lover after all.
4. Phone a friend. You know your friend’s child who eats everything? You watch enviously as they devour plates of crudite with hummus, smoothies packed with 20 fruits, vegetables and more. This is the child to invite over on a play date to cook with you. I’ve been doing fruit and vegetable demonstrations for years at my kid’s school and later having parents call me saying their son had never eaten anything green, but after trying the 40+ fruits and vegetables I would bring and watching his friends try everything he followed suit. Trying new foods out of their parents watchful eye can often be the answer to many veggie phobias.
5. Get them involved. Often we grocery shop and cook food for our families without our family. Whenever my kids avoid a certain food I make sure they’re doing at least one thing that exposes them to the food. For years Kenya had an aversion to bananas, but slowly he came around after I got him involved in buying or cooking with them. I started by taking him to the grocery and letting him pick out which ones we would buy. Secondly I would let him pick out a few recipes that included them such as banana wheat germ muffins, banana dog bites and chocolate banana ice cream. As soon as he started to have an active part in the way they were used in a recipe he was much more excited about eating them. These days he will eat them on their own and in his daily smoothie. It takes patience, but it’s worth it!
If you have other ideas for getting kids to try new vegetables, please leave your strategy in the comments below. You can even share an image on Instagram and tag @Weelicious so I can see your well thought out solutions!