- Family and Parenting
Encouraging Children to Eat Vegetables and Fruits - Tips To Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy Foods
Encouraging children to eat vegetables and fruits
Feeding children is a challenging task. Parents would like their children to have healthy diets and for them to eat a well balanced nutritious foods. One thing is that it is believed that eating habits can be carried to adulthood, so it is better to prepare and encouraged them to eat healthy foods when they are still young. Raising five children, I tried my best to give my children vegetables and fruits. It is a very difficult task at first, but after some time I learned to make them appreciate the value of what they eat. My children are now in their teens and are used to eating veggies and fruits. Since we are the main caregiver to our children we are responsible for what they eat.
Tips on how to encourage your children to eat vegetables and fruits
I call it the bandwagon effect- children eat when other children are also doing the same. My children are eating together so it is easier for me to encourage each other to eat and sometimes they anticipate eating because this is the time they sit together in the table. As part of their meal, I give them vegetables and fruits. I put it one big bowl and put each of their fork there, the I feed them. They are encouraged to eat in this way. Sometimes the children of my sister, (they have the same age as mine), go to the house and I also enjoin them to eat. My children will eat more when they see that other children are also eating the same food. But you cant always do this, because when the other children are not there anymore they are not encourage to eat already.
Make the veggies and fruits available. Since they need servings of it everyday, when you go shopping, be sure that you buy adequate amount that will last until next time you will buy again. Preferably, cut it into small portion and put it in a Ziploc, so if they want a snack or to munch on it, you can give it to them. In my part, I always put a serving in the table so that they can just reach and eat it.
Presentation is everything for children, they are interested when the food is colorful. You might want to buy a vegetable cutter with designs like star on it. So if you give them for example carrots, they might want to taste it. Their spoons and plate should also be appealing to them.
The parent should also be a role model. Practice what you say. If it is part of your daily meal, then they will be more encourage to eat, plus children imitate what the parents are doing, so in every aspect, we must be careful. If they see that we are into vegtetables and fruits, they will also do the same.
Consistency- If you are consistent in giving them furits and veggies everyday, they will be use to it and they will ask you to cook for them again and again. This is true for my children.
Patience is needed. We need to be patient with them also. If at first they will spit out the vegetables and fruits, then you try again until they will like it.
Be sneaky, devise a way in which they will like it, for example mix it with other foods, specially cereals. I mix apples and bananas on cereal. When you give them burger. then you can also put a huge amount of tomatoes and pickles also. In that way even if it is burger, they will have a serving of vegetables.
I make up stories about vegetables- Sometimes I laugh at myself for being goofy, mimicking for example cauliflower. I will say “I am cauliflower, please eat me now”. I want to be eaten, they will laugh and they will eat it.
Know what type of veggies/fruits they like: Once you know what your children like by asking them and observing them, you can bring them to the store with you and let them pick and choose veggies for them. You can ask their help to put it in a bowl after you cut them (don’t let them cut it lol). They will eat more once they know that they are part of the preparation.