This is a very tough question for some parents, or even single parents. Adults are stubborn, but kids are picky eater if you just don’t know how to promote certain food for them, especially the vegetables. So, how to attract your kids to eat more veggies?
It is very important to introduce vegetables to your kids since they are young or several months young. Vegetables contain a lot of nutrients, including vitamin, mineral and fiber that help your kids to be healthy, strong and reduce the risk of getting infections or diseases. It is not impossible to let the kids enjoy eating their vegetable menu. All you have to do is to train them and keep on promoting.
- Be Their Examples
Your kids will follow everything that they seem especially what are their parents doing. Usually, if the parents love to eat fish and chips, that will be their kids favorite food too. So, grab this natural behavior of them as the chance to introduce them more veggies. You have to start eating more veggies from now on, so they can observe you and then their interest to eat the vegetable will eventually grow. Kids usually eat what they know is on the house, as long as they do not know any option, what are you going to served them, they will never refuse it.
2. Decorate it
Kids have a very high imagination, even when they are looking at their food. Try to decorate the food into shapes that fun to look at for the kids. For example, coconut tree from sweet peas, carrots and cucumber, you just use the sweet peas as the leaves, cut the cucumber into identical cube and arrange it to be the trunk, and cut the carrots into semicircle shape and decorate it as the island for the coconut tree. Feast your kids’ eyes so they can enjoy their meal.
- Cook Together
Children love to join you in the kitchen if you let them. They can do the easiest one, the preparation of the meal. Ask your kids to accompany you to the market to buy some vegetables, and at the same time, you can show them the vegetables that you are going to have. This shopping activity will make them even more excited to eat their veggies. Later in the kitchen, show them how to make the dressing for the vegetable, and let them to involve. They probably can’t wait to eat this way.
4. One Bite Rule
There is a research about how many times a kid needs to get expose before she/he can accept certain food. It is advised to let them try it at least 8-10 times before they are fully accepting the taste of a new food. To increase the chance, use the one bite rule. Many parents use it and most of the time, they successfully introduced the vegetables to their kids using this one bite rule.
- No Forcing
Forcing the kids is never the best option. They will remember it as the bad feeling towards what they are going to eat. You have to avoid this bad impression, especially when you are introducing vegetables to them. Do not force them to finish their vegetable, and leave them with a negative experience in eating. Just require them to have one bite and that’s it. Sooner or later, they will ask for their vegetable before you serve it.
6. Reward Them
Do not call it as a bribe game. This is a reward because they are being a good kid and eat their vegetables. Scientific research shows that, if you reward your kids after they took a bite of rejected food with toys or new clothes, you make it easier to let them try the food again. This is the bright side of reward and you can try it more often.
- Understand their goodness
Let your kids know what carrot can do for their eyes, and what broccoli can do for their skin. If your kids ask why they have to eat vegetables, do not reply them with “because you have to”. To make them understand, you have to say something like “vegetable will make you prettier”. You can say that the vegetables taste delicious too, but you have to eat it first. If you don’t eat your veggies, it’s hard to convince the kids and make them understand the goodness.
- Play with colors
Kids love colors. If you present their food in the most colorful way, usually you will have no problem seeing them eating. This might take a little effort, so you can refer to the recipe books to improve your food decorations for the kids. Kids like their food to be separated than a mono color of macaroni and cheese.
- Bring the flavor
You can use butter, garlic or chicken stock while cooking the vegetables so the taste is more appealing for the kids. Kids are normally picky, but once they tasted something good, they will ask it for more. If they like to eat vegetables with chicken or cheese, go ahead, let them have it. Besides, they need the extra calories for their growth too.
10. Watch the Commercial
If you can find any commercial, or TV shows for kids to learn about vegetables, that is a good material to let them learn and accept the vegetable quickly. Something like Popeye the Sailorman can be useful, eating spinach to be strong and save the day will be something that kids could enjoy and learn from. Do not let them watch something anti-vegetable or it might influence them to refuse vegetables later. It takes effort, but to attract your kids to eat more veggies becomes easier when you already know the tricks.