We all want out kids to eat healthy, including a lot of fruits and veggies. But for most families kids and veggies just aren’t friends. But why?
Is it because kids don’t like the taste? I am sure that is true in a few cases, but not the majority.
Is it a texture thing? My sister has a texture issue with fruit, so I can understand this may be an issue for some.
Or are veggies too foreign to kids? I have a feeling that this is most likely the issue for most kids and parents.
Here are some tips that we use to get our boys to eat more vegetables, a strategy that has worked well over the years. Need proof? They eat Brussels sprouts.
Serve it to them.
Kids are going to eat what they know and see all the time. If they only get served carrots, most likely they aren’t going to come home from school and say “Mom can you make Brussels sprouts for dinner.” When they are given a variety of veggies they will be comfortable and probably find some that they really like. Sure, we all have our usual routine, but try adding a new one every once in a while.
Be the example.
If your children see you eating your veggies and enjoying them, they are more likely to try them too. At our house I only make one dinner and everyone gets a serving of each item. Of course some nights the boys aren’t happy about a selection, but when they see us eating them happily they tend to be more open.
Make it a routine.
Each day with lunch and dinner my boys know that there will be some veggies on their plate. In Jack’s lunch he gets them too and not just carrot sticks. Then they are used to having them with meals and aren’t surprised when it is served.
The two bite rule.
At our house we have the two bite rule. You must always try two bites of something or you don’t get your after meal treat. Sometimes this works better than others, but even the three year old will take his two bites of Brussels sprouts.
Don’t ask, don’t tell.
Last year I decided to swap kale for lettuce in salad. At first I started with Caeser salad, but then moved to all salads. I didn’t say a word, just served it like there was nothing different and you know what, the boys didn’t complain. Now Jack takes salads in his school lunch that use either kale or spinach as the base.
Get them involved.
Studies have shown that if kids are involved in preparing the food, picking it out and even growing it, they are more open to trying different kinds. I know it isn’t easy to find jobs for a three year old in the kitchen, but even just having them play there while you make dinner helps. My boys like to go to the produce section or the farmer’s market and see what looks great. Last summer they both ate our whole bag of fresh snap peas as we walked through the farmer’s market. They wouldn’t have looked at me sideways at home if I had said that was snack.
Summer is coming with lots of fresh veggies, so get out and enjoy.
This post is also available at my Girl Power Hour parenting blog, Mommy See.