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How to get your children to eat vegetables
Children and vegetables
How to get your children to eat vegetables!
My children were never veggie fans. They enjoyed fruits, pasta, meat and chicken but vegetables were always a BATTLE around our house. At first, being the attentive mother I was, I would plan these well-balanced meals with a variety of vegetables to accompany the main course. After a while however I noticed that despite the fact that my meals were well thought out... they were not being consumed in the proper proportions by my children. My husband and I balanced our dinner plate with a bit of everything that was being served. The children were another matter entirely! We served the food in their plates, coaxed them to eat, told stories, made up rhymes, hid the vegetables under the meat and pasta all to no avail. At the end of the meal most of the veggies remained. This did make me wonder and ponder ways to get my children to consume the necessary and healthy amount of veggies in order to maintain good health.
Raw veggies and dip
This is an ideal way to get your children to eat vegetables and honestly, it the best way to get all of the essential vitamins from them. In its raw form the nutrients in the vegetables remain unaltered and are at their most pure. The key here is to entice the children to eat them. Dips are wonderfully fun and what child does not enjoy playing with his/her food??? Your choice of dip is very important and must be thoughtfully picked. Once you introduce something to your child and he/she likes it, it will be near to impossible to make a change. Before choosing a dip to introduce at home, do your homework. Read the label. Is it high in fat? Does it contain a lot of chemicals? Can it be stored unrefridgerated? If so, then it is probably not very healthy. Some tasty and healthy dip choices which are not high in calories or are part of a healthful diet are ideal.
Here are some popular and healthy dips:
- Ranch dressing (a little goes a long way for flavour)
- Sour cream and chives
- Cream cheese (mix it with a spoonful of sour cream and whip it up with a fork till creamy smooth)
- Peanut butter
- Tzaziki sauce (a nice low-fat Greek sour cream that is BIG on flavour)
- Hummus (plain, garlic or red pepper flavours made of chickpea and really high in fiber)
- Red pepper dip
- Spinach dip
- Tuna and mayonnaise (mix a can of tuna and a dash of paprika with mayo until thick and creamy which will make a delicious, healthy dip that is full of protein)
When you want to introduce vegetables as a fun snack choice make them interesting and as exciting as possible. Cutting the veggies into thin slices or dipping sticks is a way to achieve this. Carrots, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and celery are perfect for dipping. Snap peas and snow peas are just plain fun unto themselves. Have your children examine them and locate the little peas inside the pods before crunching into them! They will love it. If your children like tomatoes, cherry or grape tomatoes are terrific for dips and then they can pop them directly into their mouths.Broccoli is great tasting and good for you too.
The most important factor in getting your children to enjoy vegetables is YOU !!! They need to see you eating them and enjoying them too. Children imitate parents the good habits along with the bad. Eating habits are one of the strongest influences a parent may have on his child. Many of us follow the "Do as I say, not as I do" motto however this really does not work well with children. Even though they may not eat exactly as you do for their first few years of life until their tastes develop, rest assured... they are watching you and observing your every food choice.
So be an example to your children! Take them grocery shopping with you and have them help you pick out the veggies for the week. Have your children pick a healthy mix of colours... green, yellow, red and orange. When your get home, wash the vegetables together, slice them up and have your child organize them in a veggie tupperware which will be stored in the fridge. If the vegetables are already clean, cut and handy they will be an easy go-to snack. This is really handy when you are in a rush or pressed for time and honestly, cleaning and cutting veggies is out of the question. Just pull out your tupperware from the fridge, take out a tasty,dip and you and your child can snack healthfully while chatting about your day as you prepare supper. We call our veggies and dip the 'appetizer' at our house!