I was always a weird child – I loved all fruits and vegetables growing up! My parents never had trouble getting me to eat healthy. Unfortunately, most kids tend to be picky when it comes to food. Unless it comes with a toy or they’ve seen a cartoon character endorsing it on TV, they won’t try it, plain and simple. So how do you get your little ones to eat more fruits and vegetables? It’s really not that hard if you follow these suggestions:
-Don’t give them a choice
Unless you plan on serving chicken feet with tripe, there’s no reason why you should prepare backup dishes for your children. Teach them from a young age that what you’re cooking is what they’ll be eating, no arguments.
-Never show your own prejudices
If you’ve never been a big fan of brussel sprouts, make sure your kids don’t find out about it. Let them make up their own minds otherwise they’ll generalize and start disliking everything. Also, don’t forget that the reason you might not be fond of a particular veggie or fruit could be because of the way it’s prepared, i.e. steamed vs. blanched vs. sautéed. Try several recipes before coming to a final decision.
-Ask them to cook with you
It’s a wonderful thing when children enter the kitchen. By helping you prepare dinner, they’ll feel important because they’re contributing and thus will have a vested interest in eating the final product.
-Allow them to grow or pick the ingredients
When I would go with my mom to the grocery store, I was absolutely mesmerized by the stands full of bright, colorful produce. As my mom loaded the cart with delicious fruits and veggies, I would sniff the greens or herbs and grab at everything to feel the different textures. The same goes for gardening. Kids love to get dirty anyway, so they’ll be thrilled to bury seeds and care for the plants as they grow. Just get used to hearing, “Is it time yet?” as they eagerly wait for the moment when they can finally eat them.
-Make dishes fun
You can’t go wrong with kabobs or wraps. Stick in a variety of fruits or veggies with your choice of meat, and these items are as good as gone from the plate. Best of all, they’re easy for kids to assemble by themselves!
-Include dips and sauces
Instead of cookies or other processed snacks, give kids a plate of celery or apple slices with some ranch dressing or peanut butter on the side. The sky is the limit here.
-Sneak it into food
If all else fails, try shredding or dicing fruits and veggies into meals or desserts. After all, they won’t be able to tell what it is. (P.S. Don’t tell them what it is!)
Hopefully after trying a few of these techniques, your kids will look forward to eating their fruits and veggies.