Get Them to Eat Vegetables

It is in our DNA to worry constantly about what our kids are eating. This is because, before we cared about body hair removal or good posture, we needed to feed helpless little crawlers in order to ensure the survival of our species. Safe to say, we are good on that front. Today, those of us fortunate enough to not have to worry about where his or her next meal is coming from — and I don’t mean anxiety over ordering Chinese or Pizza — need to worry about something. So, we obsess over what is going into their mouths. Is it healthy? Is it organic? Saturated fats, too much sugar, not enough protein … the list goes on. Yes, you should serve your children healthy food. No, you should not lose sleep over whether or not they enjoy it. Think long term. The best thing you can do is establish some healthy habits which will last them a lifetime. Try these simple tricks to help them develop a taste for vegetables and be patient. It will not happen overnight.

– Have fresh vegetables cut and easy to grab.
– Serve raw vegetables (more vitamin packed) to kids who will only take a couple bites of veggies.
– Keep trying. It often takes many tries before someone accepts a new taste. Don’t stress too much about adding cheese, butter or dip. Just do what it takes to get them interested and past the “Yuck!” stage. Eventually, they will like the base veggie flavor without the added stuff. Remember how long it took you to go from Bartles and James’ Wine Coolers to a good red? Practice makes perfect.
– ┬áMake their favorites but add others. Yes, if your 5 year old loves edamame, serve it. But, remember the goal is to develop an accepting palate over the long term. Provide variety.
– Sneak them in a smoothie. There is nothing like a blended banana to take the bite out of spinach.
– Don’t assume they won’t like what you don’t like and never say, “You won’t like that.” Let them learn for themselves.

And, above all, if they are growing, are not anemic and your doctor hasn’t given you any cause for concern, don’t make too big a deal of the ingestion of vegetables. Most kids love fruit which is packed with the good stuff too. Sometimes you have to stick with what works. Kids who like brussel sprouts do not have smarter parents, they just have dumber taste buds!

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.

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