Vegetables are not always a child’s favorite but there are some tips that can change this. Start fueling those kiddos with some serious nutrition today. They will thank you when their patterns are set in adulthood.
Plant a garden together.
This is the perfect time of year to begin teaching your children about seeds and different types of vegetables. Let them help you plant and water them. You just might discover that your children may harvest and indulge in fresh vegetables in the middle of a back yard playtime. Give them a sense of ownership by allowing them to create colorful labels for the seeds that they planted.
Use an array of vegetables to teach your children colors.
Create games, be silly and have fun. The more comfortable the kids are with unique vegetables, the more likely they are to try new ones.
It may take some time to warm you children up to the idea of including vegetables with every meal. Sometimes sneaking veggies in unexpected meals is the best way to start them on the nutrients if the idea is foreign. My Vitamix is by far my favorite tool because it takes any vegetable and blends into a liquid. With this liquid you can make a soup base, bread, add it to marinara sauce or even sneak it into a Popsicle without detection.
Set an example.
If you chose to eat vegetables with a good attitude and include it in regular intervals throughout the day then you are setting your children up to do the same.
Get them in the kitchen, let them help.
It may be messy and take twice as long but it is fun and a deep understanding of nutrients. My mini loves to juice vegetables! I have used the Brueville or Vitamix in her presence every day since she was born. Now she squeals with delight as she tosses in the veggies for me. She knows each vegetable by name and takes tiny tastes as she tosses them in. Last week she begged me to let her bring the juicer to preschool for show and tell.
Together is better!
Each day we sit with our 2 year old (at her itty bitty table) and snack on vegetables. We laugh and play. Sometimes we eat green beans with chopsticks or toothpicks to mix it up. Not only are we building a relationship, we are also sending a message that will forever send an emotional message that eating vegetables is a positive experience.
If you can start your little one on real foods from earth, the norm will be set. It is much easier to program rather that reprogram a child’s eating patterns.
Try new foods when they are hungry.
Don’t force it.
Making food consumption too big of a deal can easily send your kiddo the wrong message. We adamantly refrain from forcing anything on our little one. Toddlers are picky but they will not let themselves starve. If she is hungry she will eventually eat. If she denies the 1-3 options on her dinner plate she understands that the meal is over and that a substitute will not be available later. Children do have extremely sensitive pallets so if a new food is introduced I insure that she has another healthy option on her plate. If the food is rejected, don’t make a big deal out of it. Try the same food in a month in a new setting. After 3 tries if your child really dislikes that particular vegetable do not feel like you have to offer it again. There are a plethora of different veggies to try.
Cut out snacks.
If your little one is filling up on foods that have no benefit, they will not be hungry for the foods that count. Try switching to raw, seasoned, dipped, dehydrated or baked veggies as snacks.