Saturday, July 12, 2008
It is often difficult to persuade children to eat vegetables.
To make it easier try the following:
Tell your child about the health benefits of eating vegetables.
Persuade your child to eat some (but not all) of what you've put on the plate. Example: "If you take two more bites, you can be done. I'm sure you can eat two more bites. Let's count."
Try reverse psychology. Say something like, "I wouldn't eat that if I were you."
Make up a game so that eating vegetables is more fun.
Hide vegetables in foods your child likes. For instance, put vegetables on pizza or in a casserole.
Make sure the adults set a good example. Children pick up cues from adults and siblings when it comes to food. If people grimace or complain about eating foods there is a good chance the child will too. Children will often pick up the picky eating habit from those around them.
Don't make it a big deal. Sometimes the pressure to eat it makes a child leery. They will think of eating certain foods much like being forced medication.
Consider their motivation. If the child gets extra attention when they don't eat their vegetables they may continue to protest and cause problems at the table.
Include your child in the preparation of the foods. A proud child will often try their own creations.
Tell your child which vegetables are your favorites, which are favorites of other people they like. Children often try to imitate and may be more open to trying a vegetable that is their big sibling's or grandparent's favorite.
Consider the texture of the foods the child doesn't like. It may be more than a question of taste. If your child seems to protest against certain cooked foods, textures or shapes you can try the raw option if it is safe. Some children also have color preferences. You may need to adjust your menu until the phase passes.
Try juicing. Juicing is a fun way to get important vegetable nutrients.
* For the busy parent some vegetable juice blends are available in the produce section. Try different varieties until you find a blend your child likes. There are more options than just V-8.
* You shouldn't replace all vegetables with juice a important fiber is lost in the juicing process.
* If necessary, juice when they aren't around so the real ingredients can't be seen.
* Keep track of the ingredients you use. You may find a combination of ingredients they prefer and you may need to recreate the recipe.
Add minced or grated vegetables to sauces or to other dishes they enjoy. Pizza's are also a great place to hide finely chopped vegetables.
Talk to their teachers and see if there are foods served in schools they seem to enjoy. Sometimes they become accustomed to foods being prepared a certain way and may reject the way it is prepared at home.
Help your child to grow a vegetable garden. Talk to your local greenhouse and plant vegetables that are quick growing and easy to care for. They'll learn and become eager to try new vegetables.
Add more low sugar fruits to their diet if they become to vegetable resistant.
* Take your child shopping and allow him or her to choose some vegetables to eat.
* Eliminate junk food from your house so that vegetables are one of few healthy choices to snack on.
* Some vegetables like carrots are choking hazards to young children. Make sure the vegetables you feed your child are age-appropriate.
* Don't force your child to eat a particular vegetable if he really doesn't like it. It could cause your child to develop a life-long dislike of certain types of vegetables.
* Don't lie to your child to scare him or her into eating vegetables. Example: "If you don't eat this, your eyes will fall out."