Kids and Veggies: A Better Way
If you have time and the means to do so, a great way to involve kids is to allow them to cultivate their own garden. Kids love gardening and derive great satisfaction from eating vegetables they have grown themselves.
2. Enhance the taste. Pairing vegetables with flavorful toppings—cheeses, salad dressings, hummus, tomato sauce, peanut butter, salsa—makes them much more palatable to developing taste buds, and if kids can dip the vegetables themselves, it can even create a sense of fun. Celery and peanut butter, baby carrots dipped in salsa, broccoli/cauliflower and cheese, and green beans and tomato sauce are all simple and popular combinations.
3. Market vegetables yourselves. Parents can have a dramatic impact on how kids perceive vegetables. Firstly through their own attitudes. Don’t threaten kids if they don’t eat their vegetables or offer rewards if they do. Emphasize the benefits of eating vegetables, like a healthy, strong body and more energy. Model the behavior you would like to see in your kids by visibly enjoying the process of eating vegetables. (If you don’t enjoy it, fake it!)
If you can locate children’s books with vegetable protagonists (yes, they do exist), read those to your children to generate a sense of fun around eating vegetables. And if you can’t completely turn off the television, at least try to minimize the number of commercials they watch to reduce the marketing influence. The average child in the U.S. watches 20,000 televisions commercials per year. Investing in a Tivo machine is a good idea.
4. Make vegetables easily available. Instead of fruit roll-ups, keep a supply of ready-to-eat, cut-up raw vegetables in the refrigerator with a variety of dips on hand. To ease this process, most supermarkets sell pre-cut, pre-washed raw vegetable medleys. Supply vegetables at snack time instead of cookies and chips—kids are often hungrier at snack time than at dinner time and may be more amenable to munching on veggies. Remember, you are trying to instill lifelong habits in your kids, and the more repetitions of eating veggies they experience, the more natural and automatic it will seem.
Getting your kids to eat enough vegetables is not optional. It is an absolutely critical part of their healthful development. Adopting these simple tactics can greatly ease the process and yield long-term healthful benefits.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN