Kids Eating Vegetables, How Does That Happen?

Kids Eating Vegetables, How Does That Happen?

The age old task of getting kids to eat vegetables… how is it done.

There have been many different ideas on how to hide vegetables in other things to ensure that your kids eat their veggies and there’s been many an article produced to help parents who are pulling their hair out over getting their child to eat their vegetables. So, I’m not here to reinvent the wheel, but merely reinforce some good principles for getting kids to eat their veggies (not to mention other foods that are good for them).

So here are 10 principles for getting kids to eat their veggies…

  1. Set a good example for your kids.

Kids whose parents sit down to eat with them, tend to have less eating difficulties and model their parent’s behaviour. So make sure you eat your veggies too!

  1. Get them involved in the preparation

Helping select the veggies at the supermarket (or sending the kids on a mission to find particular veggies in the fruit and vegetable section) encourages kids to be involved with their vegetables. Encouraging kids in the kitchen by helping with the preparation while you’re preparing the meals, also helps.

  1. Grow your own, if you are able.

Growing vegetables gives kids a sense of accomplishment (as it does for adults) and they often want to eat what they have grown themselves. If you are limited with space there is a great book called “how to grow food in small spaces” which is a fabulous guide to growing vegetables especially if you don’t have the luxury of a whole garden. The guide is created by a company called “The Little Veggie Patch Co.” and they have some great things to look at and learn on their website. They also have a great selection of seeds, growing guides and other great items. You can even rent yourself a little urban veggie plot in Melbourne!

  1. Make them fun

Dressing your vegetables up and making them more interesting is a sure fire way to interest kids. Try some fancy faces or decorate some thin pizza bases in the shapes of animals these are great ways of inspiring kids creativity as well as their veggie intake

  1. Offer lots of colours

Plenty of colours appeal to kids, especially younger kids. Have you noticed that kids toys are multicoloured? So, the same principle applies to their veggies and it makes it much easier to make them fun!

  1. Persist and be consistent

You may need to introduce a vegetable a number of times. You often need to introduce a new food 10-15 times to a young child before they recognise it, so be patient. And be consistent, continue to offer vegetables daily (even if you vary the vegetable) and make sure you model the behaviour.

  1. Choose age appropriate portions

Different ages are able to manage different quantities so ensure that you choose amounts that won’t overwhelm your child but will still ensure they are exposed to vegetables.

  1. Try different vegetables each day or prepare them differently

Different vegetable each day helps to introduce kids to vegetables more extensively, you also might need to prepare them in different ways to not only expose them to the taste of a particular vegetable but also to the many different ways you can consume them..

  1. Use easy to eat vegetables at different times during the day

We often just think of vegetables with the evening meal but keep in mind that you can have them at many different times during the day. For example try mushrooms or avocado on toast for breakfast or cherry tomatoes for snacks (these are particularly enticing if the child has grown them themselves and a small cherry tomato plant can be grown simply and successfully in a small pot on a window sill!)

  1. Don’t bribe with food

And lastly, but defiantly not least, Never bribe with food. Although this has probably been done for generations, bribing with food won’t encourage a love or interest in vegetables and this is what we want kids to bring into adulthood to inspire their kids.

So, there it is, the Balanced Lunchbox’s ideas on getting kids to eat vegetables.

For more great tips on healthy eating and how to plan healthy lunches see:

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