Kids aren’t born hating vegetables, they are taught it. Most likely they’ve learned from watching how their parents reacted to eating vegetables. If you love broccoli, then chances are your kids might like it as well. I use to eat huge plates of broccoli when I was a kid.
Getting kids to eat fruit really isn’t a problem. Stick to a bowl of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries apples, oranges or anything like that and the kids will eat it up. Trying to take a kids peach is almost as bad as trying to take their candy. Heck I’ve seen kids love lemons. Weird, but true.
This article gives you some pointers on how to encourage your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables and less candy, junk, ice cream, etc.
The most important thing to do is to not hide vegetables from them. Don’t try to conceal them. This will tell them that their unpleasant and that they should avoid them. If they learn from a young age to enjoy vegetables they will eat them the rest of their lives.
Get an early start
As hard as it is to believe, kids to learn their eating habits added very young age. Studies show that the average age is around two or even younger. From the time that they start two to eat semi solid foods they should be given vegetables. Only give them vegetables and nothing else to reward them. Meaning do not reward them for eating vegetables with some sort of sweet or treat. You have to give them the idea that vegetables are that treat..
Even if you don’t like vegetables you’re going to have to toughen up here and shown that you really do like vegetables. Take that carrot, chew it up, and put a big smile on your face.
Let them pick
There’s nothing kids like more than having the power to pick something themselves. Go through the vegetable isles at the supermarket and let them look and explore. Explain that the green vegetables make them big and strong. Tell the carrots make their eyes like an eagle. Make them feel like superheroes. Try to choose a variety of colors and explain what each color of vegetable contributes.
If you don’t know what each color vegetable does, google “vegetable colors” and you should find some really good information.
Letting them help
Thinking back on your childhood what are some of the earliest memories you have? Are any of them sitting with your mother, your grandmother, your father or some other family member somewhere cooking something? Chances are they are. Most kids, when you ask them to describe their earliest memories, often talk about cooking something with a family member. Many chefs including some of the most famous got their start by cooking with an influential family member.
Letting the kids get involved in preparing meals not only creates a bond and experience between you and the children it also allows you to teach them good nutrition. If they are able to help prepare the vegetables they will want to be able to try what they’ve made.
No Cookie Jars!
Looking on your countertop right now, are there any junk foods that are in plain sight for your kids to see? Do they have access to chips, cookies or ice cream? If so they shouldn’t. Remove anything that’s in plain sight that is considered junk food. Grab a bowl, fill it with fruit and stick it on the counter. Keep good food in sight and hide the bad stuff. When the kids open the fridge they should see carrots, maybe celery sticks, oranges, apples or any type of fruit or vegetable should be visible. All the junk food (if you have any) should be out of their site.
Another good idea is to have 100% fruit juice in the fridge for them to drink. Again kids are going follow what they see you do. They see you drinking soda all day there going to do the same thing. That doesn’t mean you can’t drink soda, just put the soda behind the juice.
Test your green thumb
Even if you live in New York City, you can grow at garden in just a little box. Teaching your children how to grow, how to pick, and the fun of eating the stuff that you grow will really help them create love for vegetables. Not to mention that anything you grow yourself you know where it came from. Growing vegetables is beyond this article but you should be able to find a plethora of information by googleing “grow vegetables at home”
Now this is important, let them do the picking. There’s something about the smile on a kids face after they’ve picked something they grew.
Researching Vegetable Recipes They Like
Doing 5 minutes of research online can literally find hundreds of recipes. Do a quick google search for “kids vegetable recipes” and you’ll be very surprised about the number of very tasty and very healthy recipes the two kids will love to make with you.
Another recommendation is to watch some cooking shows that are known for cooking healthy meals. 30 minute meals, good eats, etc. That’s not an excuse to sit on the couch all day though!
Pull out the WOK
The Chinese never had any problems with diabetes until they adopted the western style of cooking and eating. That’s kind of telling. One of the best, if not the best, way to cook vegetables is stir frying. Stir frying requires very little fat to be added to the vegetables. Even with very little oil the taste of the vegetables get sealed in and creates a delicious side dish or meal.
Try to get many different kinds of vegetables together to make a vegetable medley. A quick meal may with just stir fried vegetables can show your kids how delicious vegetables can be. You don’t have to throw in beef or chicken and are any other type of meat just the veggies.
Put the dip in it
One way to get kids to eat more vegetables is to have a very healthy dip to have them eat their vegetables with. Here is a very simple dill dip:
½ cup dried dill weed
½ cup dried minced onion
½ cup dried parsley
½ cup Beau Monde Seasoning
When you want to use this makes simply combine it with 1 cup of low fat mayonnaise 1 cup of low fat yogurt and 3 tablespoons of the mix above. Believe me this dip is awesome.
Hold the soda, get the juice
It’s no secret that soda is not a very good choice for kids. Yet the majority of parents, to quiet their children, give in and let their children drink soda. Of course anything is OK in moderation but soda should be the exception. In my experience once kids drink soda, juice is out of the picture. They’ll be begging for soda and juice will be an afterthought. But remember they learn from what they see. If soda isn’t in the house they can drink it. If they see you drinking 10 sodas a day, why shouldn’t they?
Giving them 100% juice early on while help them develop a love for it. Heck, you can even make your own with a juicer.
A word of caution though, buy bottles of juice not cans. For some reason can juice has a lot of salt in it. Check it out for yourself the next time you’re at the supermarket.
So this is just a couple of ideas to help get your kids and loving vegetables at an early age. Even a third over the age of 2, 3 or 4, changing their habits is something that can be accomplished as long as you stick to your guns. Good luck.