Mums and dads out there, you’re surely well acquainted with the struggle of getting your child to eat enough veg. The benefits of vegetables cannot be overstated, with such benefits ranging from increased energy to boosted protection against chronic diseases later in life.
Ensuring your little one gets their recommended five-a-day, then, is important. Here are some tips and tricks that can hopefully help you do just that. Read on…
Praise, Don’t Punish
It can be frustrating when your child refuses to touch a dish that contains vegetables, but punishing them can lead your child to view vegetables negatively.
Instead, praise your child every time they eat or even just try vegetables. This can help your child view vegetables positively.
Moderation is key here. You want your child to eat veg because they like it, not because they’re seeking praise.
It might also seem brilliant to use dessert to bribe your child into eating veg. However, they’ll just associate veg as a chore of sorts, an unpleasant task that needs to be overcome and then rewarded with a treat.
Get Your Child Involved
Your child might be more eager to eat veg when they get involved in the kitchen. Let them choose their vegetable toppings for pizza, burgers and other dishes. They can also help you pick out veg on your weekly shop, and when they’re old enough, they can help with grating or chopping vegetables.
You can also try to make veggies more interactive for your child. Try a healthy, flavourful dip or sauce to be eaten with raw vegetables. This can include hummus, guacamole or nut butter.
Create Interest with Variety and Taste
Pique your child’s interest with a variety of veg in different colours, textures, shapes and tastes. This will not only lower the likelihood of your child being bored with veg, but also raise the chance they’ll discover a vegetable they like.
You can also experiment with cutting up and arranging vegetables into fun shapes. Try creating faces, dinosaurs, animals or anything else for a healthy snack for your child.
Your child might find raw or steamed veg tasteless, so try to make vegetables tastier by roasting them, stir frying them, baking them on top of a pizza or air frying them. Don’t skimp on the seasoning and herbs!
Sneak Veg Into Meals
Disguising vegetables in other dishes might feel a bit like cheating, but as long as you pair this tactic with any of the others described above (namely, serving up veggies in their original form, but in a tasty or fun way), you can ensure your child gets used to vegetables.
Add pureed or blended vegetables into tomato sauce, to be used in pastas or pizzas. Other kid favourites, like macaroni cheese or burgers, can be bulked up as well with vegetables blended or mixed into the dish. When your child realises that their favourite dishes still taste great even with veg included, they might be more receptive to eating vegetables in their original form.
Until next time…