How To Make Your Child Eat Vegetables
Seeing your child just pick at the carrots which you have steamed and carefully arranged on her plate can be a frustrating experience for every Mom and Dad. Even the old Grandma's rule, you need to eat your veggies to get a cookie does not always work. You kids are smarter than you, then know, they will eat treats at Grandma anyway without the veggies. They will even eat a cupcake tomorrow at nex tdoor kid's birthday party and veggies are not even invited.
Even if you are doing what everybody recommends - meticulously eating veggies and salads with every meal, your kids still don't want to partake in the veggie adventure. My own kids would rather try my coffee than my salad. However, they would eat broccoli, carrots, green beans, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and spinach. I would love for them to eat a salad, but for now I am pretty happy with their nutrients intake.
Having two entirely different children taught me that what works for one kid, may not work for the other. Or maybe nothing can make a kid eat veggies, and I just have to let go and keep on giving the gummy bears vitamins to make up for the veggies that my 2 year old was NOT eating. I am glad I did not give up and did what some parents do - accept the fact and offer only foods that i know she would eat. "My children won't eat broccoli", a mom told me in the park, "so, I just won't make them any more."
Now here is the point when you all wait for me to share what magic trick I used to make my daughter chew on nutritious broccoli.
I radically changed the way our family goes about grocery shopping , cooking and serving the veggies.
I made my kids help me select the vegetables in the grocery store, they dug their hands in the green beans, pick broccoli and carrots. I knew my daughter wouldn't eat them, but it did not matter, she was learning about different veggies and how to choose the fresh ones. I involved my kids in decisions like "should we eat corn on the cob, or steam frozen corn for dinner". They had to take turns in selecting which veggies are we eating today. I stuck to the ones I knew my kids would try, and avoided kale or eggplant - not so favorite choice for the little ones.
I started serving veggies with every meal, even on days we ordered pizza, there were carrots and broccoli on the table. I knew that we would have to eat my daughter's portion, you could definitely tell - me and my husband were getting our fiber.
I used the activities my daughter likes to do and introduced a special veggie part by having her color different animals eating vegetables, we had a veggie craft day, we made happy faces with carrot circles and tomato slices, trains made out of peas, a broccoli forest. Until one day my kids were fighting over who is going to eat the wheels off our green peas train.
Sometimes me and my husband pretended to be vegetables at dinner time, it's like making a funny puppet show - "I am a big, juicy carrot" and make a silly face, my son would eat a carrot slice, my husband would say "I am a green broccoli, I want to be with my friend carrot, please, please eat me too" , my daughter had a lot of fun with this and stared trying her veggie serving as well.
I introduced different sauces for dipping and discovered that my kids like a little bit soy sauce sprinkled over their broccoli, I tried offering different veggies served cooked or raw. One of them liked raw carrots, the other preferred them steamed. At this point, my daughter was willing to try different veggies, without actually spitting them out. She still never ate her serving, but I never made a big deal out of it.
I made these changes very slowly, nobody ever expected my daughter to eat her veggies but we cheered every time she took a bite, until one evening she ate three broccoli florets. The next day she ate her carrots, then she did not try any veggie for a week. Gradually she stared eating more and more veggies. Everyday we had a small treat like an organic Popsicle, Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks, organic lollipop or other no additives or preservatives snacks which I found in the local Whole Foods Supermarket. I changed the time of the treat to after dinner. every time the kids ate all of their veggies they would get their treat. They did not even notice the change, but they knew they had to eat their veggies first. Gradually, I weaned them off the treat. Now we eat veggies with every meal, I pack some with the school lunch, for snack in the park or if we go on a picnic.
Offering your children vegetables all the time is the key to success. Even a fussy eater like my daughter has her favorite veggies now, she still won't eat a green lettuce salad, but will try and eat pretty much all other veggies both cooked and raw. Serve small portions at first, make a smiley face out of little carrot slices with one broccoli for a nose.
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