It can be challenging to get your kids to eat vegetables. They always don’t like the taste, or it doesn’t look appetizing to them. We will give you an insight into everything you need to know about vegetables for your kids. That way, you can make their first encounter with vegetables unforgettable and they will want to have more in the future.
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Why is eating vegetables important?
Eating vegetables is essential for everyone, but especially children. It helps provide children with the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water that they need in their diet (raisingchildren.net). This can help their overall health so that they grow strong and build up a good immunity system. It will also prevent digestive issues, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Vegetables help to lower blood sugar, so that also has to do with these benefits.
Do kids need vegetables to be healthy?
Kids need vegetables to be healthy just like adults. This is because it promotes growth and development. They help fight against diseases later in life, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type two diabetes, and heart disease. They might not be thanking you now, but they will be when they are older.
How many vegetables should a child eat daily?
Your child should have at least one fruit or vegetable for each meal, according to the American Heart Association. You can pick and choose what to feed your child based on what they like, but this is a great rule to follow whether it is fruit or vegetables. Their serving size recommendations will increase with age.
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10 Strategies to get your kids to eat vegetables
1. Be consistent
When giving your child vegetables, you want to be consistent with them right after you start. That way, they expect to have it for lunch and dinner. It gives them more chances to try it whenever you offer it as well. If you aren’t consistent with it, the kids might think they can get away without trying vegetables when it is presented to them. It also builds a good habit for them over time and adds variety to their meals.
2. Let your children choose the veggies
Involving the kids in meal-time decisions will help give them a sense of control over their eating. Giving them a choice to choose what veggies they want will encourage them to actually eat them when the time comes. You can even ask them if they wish to have the vegetables cooked or raw, giving them more freedom on what they will eat, so they aren’t scared of it when they see the food on their plate.
3. Make veggies fun
Trying fun shapes and dips can be a great way to encourage your kids to eat vegetables. Some cookie cutters can make them fun shapes for certain veggies like cucumbers or zucchini slices. It will give them something cool to look at while they are eating. Dips add lots of flavor that can encourage them to eat more vegetables as well.
4. Be a veggie role model
Kids are more likely to eat what they see their parents eat, so try to be a role model for eating veggies. If kids see you eating your plate of vegetables, they just might give it a shot and try them after you. Take advantage of the opportunity if your child reaches for what you’re eating. Share your vegetable snack or side with them if they reach for it, which children often do. This way, they’ll be snacking on veggies without even realizing.
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5. Try new recipes
Try serving vegetables differently if they didn’t like a more plain variety. For example, not all children like broccoli when it’s boiled and plain. Try seasoning vegetables with some salt and pepper when you cook them and build up from there. While children are sensitive to flavor, a few dashes of lemon juice or other flavors can make all the difference in getting your kids to eat their vegetables.
6. Avoid the battles
When trying to get your kids to eat their veggies, there can come a battle of resistance. It is best to avoid provoking any fights with the kids about eating their veggies because it will only lead them to think negatively of the subject. After all, they will associate it with fighting, which is not the goal. If you child is having a bad day, take that as a sign to provide the vegetables, but not push the issue.
7. Sneak the veggies into dinners
Try to hide veggies in the dinners you are making so it is not obvious. That way, they still get their veggies, but they will be disguised into the overall dinner and its flavors. It can be overwhelming for kids to see the veggies on their plates, especially when it’s separated. Incorporating it into meals like pasta or meatballs can be a great starting point. It’s best to pair with things that you already know they like.
8. Blend vegetables into smoothies
If you add some veggies and fruit together, you can whip them up into a colorful smoothie. This is a great way to hide them from your children if they love fruit because they will mainly taste the fruit anyways. Plus, if they see it be a bright color, they are more likely to give a shot and try it.
9. Try the air fryer
An air fryer is an easy way to make healthy vegetables as a side dish. They come out crispy, and your kids will enjoy the crunch. Our seasoning tip comes in handy here as well to get your kids to eat vegetables. Sometimes, their aversion could be due to the texture and not even the taste, so this is a great way to change up that texture.
10. Keep trying
Keep trying to get your kids to eat vegetables because, in time, they will eventually give in or find one they actually enjoy. We know it can be a tough process and you don’t want to throw away your food, but if you don’t back down, they will when they are hungry. There are many ways to encourage kids to try new foods without putting too much pressure on the issue. It can be a learning curve, but never give up hope that there will be a vegetable they enjoy.
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What if my child still won’t eat vegetables?
If you can’t get them to eat vegetables and it feels like you’ve genuinely tried everything, you can consult their pediatrician for more help or get the recommendation for a good dietician. You can also try different, fun learning tactics like books or educational songs about vegetables to encourage a positive view point on the food group. Ultimately, kids usually out grow their picky eating phase so you don’t have to worry too much.
Should you bribe kids to eat vegetables?
Bribing your kids into eating their vegetables isn’t the best way to teach them healthy eating habits. If you bribe them, they could refuse to eat the vegetables without a bribe in the future and you’ve created a cycle. It is best not to bribe them because it will only lead to more work for you as the parent to get them out of that mindset.
In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to get your kids to eat vegetables. It requires a little bit of patience and creativity as to how you approach the situation. Try our list of strategies before you give up or get too stressed out. You might be surprised what foods they actually end up enjoying even if you hate it, so be sure to keep an open mind and guide them through this new period in their lives. Of course, consulting your pediatrician is always a big help in this process.