People ask me how I get my kids to eat fruits and vegetables so well. When we have been invited over for for dinner people always comment that they can’t believe how many veggies these kids are able to consume without me having to say
anything too much. Don’t get me wrong, we do not have perfect diets. As much as I try, there are still days that leave me shaking my head wondering what happened!
But all in all, I think we do pretty well. So here are my top 5 tips on getting kids to eat their veggies.
- Be a Good Role Model
A lot of people who say they have trouble getting their kids to eat veggies don’t even eat them either! Why would the kids eat spinach if you or another adult in the family turns their noses up every time it’s on their plate. Show enthusiasm! You are still a major role model in your kids lives! I make sure mine see how excited and enthusiastic I am especially when we are having some of my favorites. Seriously, I’d so much rather a box of broccoli than a box of chocolates!
- Keep trying!
It can be so frustrating when your kids refuse to eat something. It feels like such a waste. And after saying “eat your ______” so many times, it is absolutely exasperating. But don’t give up. They can try it at least. They say that it takes 7 times to get used to a new flavor…or maybe it was 5 times…or 10? Eh. Whatever it’s different for every kid and every food. Maybe they’ll never like it, but maybe one day they will. Or maybe they’ll at least stop fighting it so much.
- Teach them to eat the rainbow.
I taught my children about how they should try to eat as many colors of the rainbow as they can. Blue and purple can count as one category. So some days when I feel like they need a little motivation, I remind them that we should try to eat the rainbow. They immediately rattle off a list of what fruits and veggies they ate so far before they launch off looking for produce to fill in the missing colors. And no, starburst and skittles do not count. (Where do they even keep getting those things?!?)
- Try different styles of cooking – or not cooking.
My kids love kale chips! But they won’t eat steamed kale. Banana ice cream is one of my daughter’s favorites (made of one ingredient: bananas). But she won’t touch a regular banana. They love zoodles. But my son will no longer touch a cooked zucchini slice. And everyone loves green smoothies. When my son was a super little, he went through a phase when he didn’t want to eat fruits or veggies. He broke out of that phase simply by me adding a crudite and dip with every meal. It wasn’t a huge assortment of veggies, but he was eating carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower with almost every meal. So at least it was somethin and his repertoire has vastly increased since (thank goodness).
- Get them involved
There are lots of ways to get kids involved with eating healthy. They can help cook. Or in some cases get to use super cool and fun kitchen gadgets (read: spiralizer – I have this one), Grow your own veggies and have the kids help plant, water, and check the growth. I learned to love beets when I was young because I grew them myself. And nothing is more exciting than picking a ripe vegetable you grew yourself and eating it. My son’s love of spinach came from eating it straight out of a friend’s garden. They thought they were being sneaky and a little naughty eating right there in the middle of the garden as they were pulling the leaves. But we knew what they were doing. We just let them think they were sneaking. He now loves his spinach. It has become a favorite. And I cannot complain!
Another fun way I got my kids involved was by deciding that we should try a new food every month. Sometimes it’s going to a new type of restaurant (they had never had thai food before! I know parenting FAIL, but now they love it) or just going to the grocery store/farmers market and picking a new fruit or veggie that we never had before. This introduced them to dragon fruit, purple everything, and rutabaga to name a few.
These are all awesome strategies in a pinch. And I use them all, but I think the most important thing is just making fruits and vegetables a part of your lifestyle and a part of theirs too. If you are just a family that eats lots of fruits and vegetables it will not even be a question for them.
What tips do you have to get kids to eat their veggies? Let us know!
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