- Family and Parenting
How to teach your child to eat vegetables
Developing healthy eating habits should begin in the first few years of your child’s life. A baby should not be limited to the standard jarred baby food flavors. When the baby can take thick purees, vegetables and fruits purees should be given so as to acquaint the child with the taste of such foods.
Start with vegetables instead of fruits
After about 5 months, your baby is normally ready for solid foods. Skip the boxed cereal and start with vegetables such as well-steamed tiny broccoli florets. Only when the infant is used to their taste and texture, then include fruits in the diet. If fruits have been given in the first place, the infant might not like the bland taste of vegetables as compared to the sweetness of fruits.
Fruits and vegetables in daily learning
When the toddler learns to talk, words for fruits and vegetables should be taught. At a later stage when teaching your child to read and write, choose some kids’ recipes cooking books as teaching materials. Familiarize your kid with the names of different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Create some fun games and quiz involving the use of such foods.
As your child grows older, let him or her accompany you on your grocery shopping. Teach the child to identify the different types of fruits and vegetables and choose what vegetables he or she likes.
Child’s involvement in meal preparation
Involve your child in the choice of menu from a list of menus that contain lots of vegetable foods.
In the course of meal preparation, get the child to help in the washing of the vegetables and even chopping, if he or she is old enough. Encourage creativity by asking your kid to have the vegetables cut into different sizes and shapes. Let the kid thinks it is fun to handle such foods.
When cooking the vegetables, ask how your child likes them to be prepared – steaming, stir-frying, deep frying, microwaving, boiling, baking or grilling. Try to involve your child as much as possible in the preparation of meals.
Creative display of foods
Be creative when it comes to serving the vegetable foods. Display them on the plates in different forms and patterns, with the participation of your kid.
A plate of raw or steamed carrot sticks, sweet red peppers, celery, fresh peas, or tomatoes can be put on the table for kids to munch when they are hungry in-between meals.
Careful selection of vegetables
As kids have very sensitive taste buds, initially avoid vegetables that have bitter flavors like broccoli, endive, kale and mustard greens, as the kids might find them unpalatable.
Focus on vegetables that have sweet flavors such as baby carrots, baby lettuce, baby eggplant, beets, sweet potatoes, yam, peas, corns, and turnips.
Respect the kids’ choice
When introduced to new fruits or vegetables, kids should be encouraged to try. Children normally need some time to decide whether they like or dislike certain foods. If they still dislike a particular fruit or vegetable after having it a few times, respect their choice and try something else the next time.
Instil sense of pride and achievement in child
Continual exposure to fruits and vegetables from a tender age will make your child feels that these are part of daily life and unlikely to reject them in the later stage of life. Letting your kid has a role in choosing the menu, the purchasing, the preparation and the cooking somewhat creates ownership of the dish. With pride and a sense of achievement, your child will learn to enjoy vegetable dishes in due course.
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