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Busy Moms – Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables – 4 Top Ways (And 1 Trick Not to Use)
What is even more important than getting your kids to eat vegetables? Get your kids to eat and ENJOY vegetables!
These have been shown to be the best ways to increase the likelihood that your children will eat and ENJOY vegetables. In addition, one very popular trick will succeed in getting your kids to eat vegetables – but it will make them even more UNLIKELY to enjoy vegetables in the long run.
#4 – Introduce a Wide Variety of Vegetables from 6 to 12 Months
There is a great window of opportunity between 6-12 months when your child will be willing to try new foods and more accepting of new foods. Later he will naturally become more skeptical about any “new” food – even if he has seen and eaten it before. Introducing your child to as many different vegetables and textures as possible before she reaches this stage can maximize the number of foods your child will accept.
#3 – Present Vegetables in a Neutral Way
Don’t have a preconceived idea of what your child will and won’t enjoy. If you have a defeatist “I know Billy will hate broccoli” attitude, your child will pick up on the negativity. The same goes if you make a big deal out of the fact that he likes something “Wow, you like Brussels”. Kids are smart, they will pick up on the underlying message that Brussels Sprouts are something NOT to like and chances are your kid will announce that he doesn’t like them the next time you serve them.
#2 – Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Many children go through a stage where they are skeptical of anything new. They will announce that they “hate” something before they’ve even tried it. This is a normal stage of your child’s development. Just like how babies will suddenly “get weird” with people. Estimates of the average number of exposures to a new food before children accept it range from 5 to 30! If spinach is something you eat regularly in your house, keep eating it. The underlying message for your child is that in your house people eat spinach. Your child will eventually try it – and she may like it – or not. Try different recipes and preparations, cooked spinach as a side dish, spinach salad, spinach in a stir-fry – however you enjoy eating it.
#1 – Eat Vegetables Yourself
Actions speak louder than words and little ones are watching every move we make. The most successful way to ensure that your children do not eat vegetables is to not eat vegetables yourself. So, be a vegetable-loving role model. And, let all the important adults in your child’s life be vegetable-loving role models.
1 Trick DON’T Use
DO NOT sneak/hide vegetables! This is a popular trick. It’s tempting to do it out of concern that your child isn’t eating enough vegetables. While you will win the battle to eat vegetables in the short term – you will lose the long term war to get your kids to eat and ENJOY vegetables. Children are smart and will catch on sooner or later. They will learn that vegetables (and food in general) are something to be suspicious of. It will erode their trust in food and in you. They will also learn that vegetables are something terrible that must be hidden. When you are not around to hide them, they will be less likely to choose vegetables. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t add pureed vegetables to soups, pasta sauces, baking, etc. If you like the recipe, use it. What matters is the intention. Ask yourself – are you hiding the vegetable or are you adding it because you enjoy the taste?
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