If there is one question I get asked on a regular basis it’s how do you get your kids to eat their vegetables? As a dietitian and a mom, I know how challenging and stressful it can be to feed growing bodies. Trust me I have pulled my hair many times trying to find ways to get my girls to eat their vegetables. I am not an expert in terms of feeding kids but I have used (and use) a few tricks and would say they work 90 percent of the time. Let’s take a look at how this dietitian gets her kids to eat vegetables and enjoy them.
When my girls were ready for solids, I starting introducing a wide variety of iron rich vegetables on a daily basis. During these curious stages of eating try to offer a wide variety of flavours and textures. As a mother, I am aware that kids palates change as do their eating behaviours. Toddlers are scared of new foods, remember it can take 20 times before your child will accept it. Continue to offer new foods with favourite foods.
Be a Good Role Model:
I cannot emphasize this enough. Parents play an important role in shaping their child’s eating habits. Be a good role model. Let your kids see you eat and enjoy a variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables. If you asked my girls what is your mommy’s favourite food I am pretty sure they would both say veggies and salad. We eat a lot of salads, I used to always serve the girls a deconstructed version, but now I don’t. I simply serve them the same salad as D and I and I would have to say 90 percent of the time they will eat the salad. A family favourite is this roasted beet quinoa salad.
Kids love to dip vegetables. We usually serve cut up veggies with hummus for additional fiber and protein. Sprouted kitchen has a delicious veggie and monster hummus dip and a delicious classic hummus. Do your kids like dips with their vegetables?
Take them to the farmers market:
What better way to teach kids where their food comes from and how it is grown than the farmer’s market. The farmer’s markets can get pretty busy during the summer months. I recommend getting to the market when it opens. You can even make a little game out of the family outing by encouraging your kids to find and try a new vegetable.
Plant a garden:
Kids love getting involved when it comes to food. Encourage the kids to help plan a vegetable garden and take care of it. The garden does not have to be big. When we lived in a townhouse we didn’t have enough space for a garden but we planted some cherry tomatoes and Miss E loved watering them and eating them. There is nothing like walking out your door to pick fresh vegetables.
Invite the kids in the kitchen:
I am a strong advocate for getting kids in the kitchen. I am passionate about teaching my girls how to cook plus its a great opportunity to spend some quality time together even if things get a bit messy. Cooking is a basic life skill that is essential to healthy eating. Studies show kids are more likely to try food that they have helped prepare. A good lesson for kids is washing fruits and vegetables and/or making salad dressing. My girls love making salad dressing and adding it to salads. Another great way to get young kids involved is have them tear the lettuce for a salad. We also enjoy making pancakes, cookies, chia seed pudding, granola bars and smoothies.
Feeding kids is challenging. Sometimes its easier to give in and let them have whatever they want. Like many aspects of parenting, patience and good role modelling will help your child enjoy eating vegetables. Finally, remember as the parent it is you role to decide what, where and when food is being served. It’s your child’s responsibility to decide if and how much to eat.
Do you struggle to get your kids to eat their veggies? I wold love to hear how you get your kids to enjoy their veggies!