- Add a variety of vegetables to all main meals from the age that they commence eating solids. Also add vegetables to meals and snacks across the day. You could add raw vegetables to their lunch box, or to their after-school snack with a home made dip.
- Keep track of what your children eat across the day. You may be surprised at how much fruit and vegetable produce they eat during snack times. This removes some of the “veggie stuffing” pressure from dinner time.
- Set your family meal time rules and stick to them – ours is that the boys must try everything on their plate. If they try it and do not like it they do not have to eat it.
- Keep serving vegetables (in small amounts), even if you know your child will not eat it. They will change their mind at some stage. My five year old now likes lettuce after it being left many, many times on his plate.
- Serve new things often – use seasonal produce to assist your children to learn about the variety of food available at different times of the year. Talk about food and where it comes from. Foster a love and appreciation for fresh food.
- Model eating a wide variety of vegetables yourself – practice what you preach! My five year old will eat anything that Mr Fresh likes, including asparagus and now a small amount of chilli.
- Grow your own vegetables (even if it is one thing) and get your children to help plant, care for them, and then harvest the bounty. If you are a regular here you would know that we grow as much as we can in our backyard. The kids are actively involved with helping in the garden.
- Allow your children be involved in the kitchen, teach them to cook a healthy meal. This works especially well if you use produce they have helped grow in the garden.
You can read about how I have encouraged my son to learn to cook here in a guest post I wrote for Childhood 101.
- Experiment. Add vegetables to your children’s favorites foods- eg: to muffins, or wrap them in pastry, or add some cheese to baked vegetables.
- Know your child’s limits and preferences. Do not force the issue and make dinner a stressful time.
One thing that I have learned is to try to flow with the constant changes that feeding children presents. What is a “yuck” one day, may be “delicious” the next.
My two year old has recently become picky with his food and it was driving me to distraction. I was so used to the boys being easy to feed and not at all fussy, or picky. It became my challenge to get him to eat his dinner like his vegetable munching brother! This led me to discovered that he will eat carrot, I just needed to add honey to it a few times and then re-introduce it without the honey to get him back on track. See tips 4 and 9.
On Tuesday next week I will be publishing a family food recipe to boost up the daily vegetable quota. We love it and I hope that your family will also. Have a great weekend.
How do you get your children to eat their vegetables? Share the things that work for your family in the comments below.
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