We all remember the old saying, “you can lead a kid to vegetables, but you can’t make them eat them.”
Well, maybe not, but it’s certainly true that getting your children to eat their veggies can be like pulling teeth. With a little ingenuity, however, it can be done. Here are some ideas.
ENHANCE THE FLAVORS
Let’s face it: many kids aren’t going to like the taste of vegetables without the incentive of additional flavoring. Try a nice ranch dip for broccoli or carrot sticks. Melt some cheese over green beans. This can act as a temporary “covering” to get your child used to the flavor of certain veggies. Before too long, they may learn to appreciate the taste of certain vegetables without any aid.
Many foods can be prepared so that your kids don’t even realize they’re eating veggies. Mix in chopped squash or zucchini into your ground beef for hamburgers with a healthy kick. Casseroles are another great dish to throw in some vegetables without sacrificing rich flavor.
Vegetables don’t have to be “that boring green stuff my parents make me eat.” SummerTomato.com suggests using some imagination and making a game out of eating vegetables. Pretend broccoli pieces are little trees. Arrange a colorful assortment of veggies on a plate into the shape of a smiley face or a cartoon character.
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
Children imitate their parents’ examples, whether good or bad. If your kid doesn’t see you showing enthusiasm in eating your vegetables, how can you realistically expect them to? Actions speak louder than words. Don’t just tell your kids veggies are good; show them by your own actions.
There’s no denying that getting your kids to eat healthy can be a frustrating task, but try to keep a positive attitude. If your kid is stubbornly refusing to “open the hatch”, don’t be unduly harsh, demanding, or forceful. Your child may begin to connect vegetables to unpleasant situations, making them that much more hesitant to eat them. Perhaps ask your children kindly to take just one bite. A relaxed, pleasant atmosphere can be created by easing them into vegetables.
Healthy eating can be a difficult undertaking for both parents and kids, but with a little creativity and care, you can instill such beneficial habits into your young ones.