Sometimes children don’t want to eat their vegetables. Trying to convince a child to eat a plate loaded with veggies feels like mission impossible. Every parent knows that it is hard to make your children eat well, but it is also important. Ensuring that your children eat a balanced diet is your responsibility. You need to teach your children good food habits now so that when they grow up, they will make the right choices. If you are struggling with getting your kids to eat vegetables, I have some great advice for you. Here are nine simple ways to get your children to eat more vegetables.
Lead by example
When you sit down at the table, your plate should be the same as your children’s plates. When you treat kids as though they are different, they will act as though they are. Making special allowances for fussy eaters, will reinforce the notion that it’s okay to be a fussy eater. Make sure that your meals are the same as your children’s meals. When your kids see you eating the same thing as them, it will encourage them to eat the food they have. Children love copying adults. When they see how you react to a plate of green vegetables, they will do the same.
Incorporate vegetables into your kids’ favorite food
This tip is a little sneaky, but it works. One of the easiest ways you can get your children to eat more vegetables is to incorporate veggies into their favorite meals. For example, if your children adore pizza, you can put vegetables on their pizza or order a pizza with a lot of vegetables on it. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are; you can always get pizza. They even have Pizza Hut in the Middle East, so there are no excuses. Some parents favor hiding the vegetables in the meal, but I think that’s a bad idea. The best place to hide something is in plain view. Ensure that the pizza toppings are right there in front of your kids and act like they are the most-normal toppings in the world.
Positive reinforcement is a simple way to encourage your children to do the right thing. When your kids eat vegetables, you need to reward them. You could tell them that they did well or give them a little gift. Either way, you have to show your children that you have noticed their good behavior. Some parents think that ignoring good behavior is key because good behavior should be the norm. Instead, you need to show your children that you are proud when they do what’s right. I’ve found that saying children are acting mature works. Children want to be grown-ups, and so you should tell them that they are.
Flavor the vegetables
There is nothing worse than bland, flavorless vegetables. Boiling vegetables might be the healthiest way to cook them, but it is also the most-boring way to cook them. Instead, make sure that you flavor your vegetables! Use garlic and oil to roast some delicious vegetable treats in the oven. The point is to make vegetables as tasty as possible so that your children love them. If your kids’ first experience of vegetables is that they all taste bland and sloppy, they are not going to want to eat them.
Play with the food
Whoever said playing with your food was bad? If you have small children, a great way to encourage your kids to eat vegetables is to make a game out of it. If you have two children, you can pit them against each other when they’re eating. Say, “First one to eat five pieces of veggies wins,” and watch them go. Children are competitive by nature. Siblings tend to be particularly competitive with one another, and so you can use this to your advantage when it comes to mealtimes.
Ask your kids to cook a meal
Asking your children to get involved in making the meal will encourage them to enjoy the entire meal. Children don’t like the unknown. To them, a zucchini looks like an alien spaceship on their plates. Take the opportunity to start teaching your children some fun and simple recipes. When your children have prepared the food themselves, they will be more inclined to try it.
Don’t back down
One of the biggest mistakes all parents make when it comes to this issue is backing down. It might seem like an easy option when your kids are kicking up a fuss, but backing down sends out the wrong message. If you let your kids off this time, they will think that they can always manipulate you into doing what they want. Instead of letting your children get their way, try to reach a compromise. Don’t sit there and make your children eat everything on their plate. Instead, tell them to try two or three bites before they leave the table. It takes several tastes to start enjoying something’s flavor. Every mealtime is an opportunity to teach your children about new food.
Make the food look attractive
The great thing about vegetables is that they are so colorful. It is easy to make vegetables look attractive when you cook, and so you should make sure that you do. Part of the sensation of eating is seeing. If the food looks unattractive, people are less likely to enjoy it. Make sure that the plate is colorful and that it all looks tasty.
Make mealtimes a positive experience
For some children, mealtimes are the worst part of the day. If your child thinks that he or she is going to get in trouble at the dinner table, he or she will dread it. Mealtimes shouldn’t be a challenge for your children; they should be fun and positive experiences. Make sure that you help your children to enjoy their meals. Play games at the dinner table and chat to your children. Meals should be social occasions, not a time to berate your children.