It’s been study proven that young children can learn to like vegetables, and the lead scientist on the study was quoted “if you want to encourage your children to eat vegetables, make sure you start early and often.” So in Honor of September being “Fruit and Veggies – More Matters” Month, and in honor of kids heading back to school, we came up with 5 ideas on how to get your children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Note that kids can learn to like new foods over time, so be consistent if you want to see results.
Kids in the kitchen!
Let your children experiment in the kitchen. Children love taking part in preparing their own meal, and are more excited to eat it as a result. Take your kids to the grocery store and decide together about tonight’s dinner. Let your kids peel vegetables, mix ingredients or set the table, you will see the excitement levels about dinner and vegetables rise sky high!
Have cut fruits and vegetables on the table at all times
When children open the fridge when they come home from school- they don’t quite run for the veggies. Try this – every day before your kids come home, prepare a platter of cut fruits and vegetables (snack-bite size) and place it on the kitchen or dining room table. You will notice that while kids don’t opt for fruits and vegetables when they’re laid in the fridge – they won’t mind snacking on them if they are pre-prepared for them!
Make sure this is a regular scene in your house, that your kids always know they can find their health snack in the same place when they come home from school. Creating habit is always more effective.
Imagine dragons. literally.
Turn your kids veggies into thrilling stories! One way is to design your child’s plate in a creative way. For instance, create a veggie-face for an omelet or a cheese sandwich (Place cherry tomatoes for the eyes, a carrot stick for the nose and a slice of red pepper for the mouth). Another way to turn your kids food into a thrilling story is if you ride with them on an imaginary adventure. Your daughter will likely not eat that broccoli if it’s just a green food on her plate, but she would probably consider eating them if she was a huge dragon who had to eat huge trees to reach a trapped puppy!
Reward good behavior:
Create positive experiences and memories for your child when it comes to fruits and vegetables. If your child doesn’t enjoy broccoli this time around, his chances to taste it again are larger if there is a positive memory attached to it. Designing your children’s plate (as mentioned above) is one way to instill a positive memory. Another way is to reward him with something small like points towards a larger present or stickers.
Be like Michael Jordan
Telling your child that he should eat his vegetables because they are ‘healthy’ or ‘good for you’ is simply ineffective. Most children see the world differently than us adults – they feel undefeatable, therefore sentences as such just don’t work. On the flip side, all undefeatable children want to be big and strong. Explaining to your child that eating his vegetables can: “Make you big and strong like Michael Jordan” or “big and strong like Serena Williams” will convince your child that he’s eating his vegetables to help himself grow and not because you said so.
To finish off, remember that already beginning at a young age, kids always want to be like their parents. Being a role model and showing them you eat vegetables is the best way to get them to eat them too.
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