Isn’t it every parent’s dream to lay down a plate of vegetables in front of the kids and hear them say, “Wow! Thank you, Mom! I’ve wanted this meal forever!”?
When children started eating solids at six months old, you may have been able to feed them mashed peas, potatoes, and carrots – that’s true. They still do not have a taste preference at this point so that you won’t find anyone grumbling. After getting introduced to fried chicken, pizza, and candies later, however, their palate develops and practically makes vegetables less appetizing.
In case you don’t want your kids to become young candidates for cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, try to remember the following ways to change the youngsters’ view of vegetables.
- Cut Out Shapes
The first aspect you should recall is that kids have extremely creative minds. You can use that fact as leverage when coaxing them to eat veggies by cutting their favorite shapes out of the fresh produces. It may take some practice to turn a potato into a snowman or arrange the peas until the entire mass looks like a robot, but if that will attract them to the vegetables, you can do it for sure.
- Ask For One Bite Every Time
Young children may do better when you impose a house rule that makes them consume at least a single bite of the meal. Many of them, after all, merely refuse to eat vegetables out of habit. They are not sure themselves whether they genuinely don’t like the food or not. Because of that, how the youngsters think of the vegetable dish might become different after consuming a spoonful of it.
- Let Them Help In The Kitchen
Another pro tip that moms and dads may wish to try is allowing the kiddos to help out during food preparation. If you’re making pizza, for instance, they can crack the egg or help you knead the dough. In case you have vegetable curry for dinner, they are welcome to peel and dice some of the ingredients with child-friendly tools. The goal here is to enable the children to feel a sense of responsibility towards the dish. Thus, they won’t say no to trying something they helped to cook.
- Offer Different Vegetables
One thing you should avoid is pushing too many veggies of the same color towards your kids, to the point that they grow to hate any food that has the same pigmentation. Considering you want them to like vegetables, therefore, you ought to change the variety all the time. For instance, you may introduce celery and peas one day – they are green. The next day, you can go with cherry tomatoes and beets. The day after that, there can be eggplants and purple cabbage.
- Hide The Pieces In The Dish
For the children who despise the site of greens or oranges on their plate, it is best to prepare dishes that allow you to “hide” the pieces from their line of vision. Say, when you make spaghetti, you can blend the carrots and mix it with the sauce. If they want a burger, you may finely chop the lettuce and combine it with the patty.
- Give Small Incentives
At the end of a successful lunch or dinner, you can make the snack that you know your kids love, extend their playtime, or get them a new toy from the store. Any of these things serve as a reward for their good deed. Just remember to do it subtly so that the kiddos do not realize that it’s an incentive for eating vegetables. Once they find out, they might use the trick against you to get more stuff.
To Sum Things Up
The truth is that you can never force your children to eat something they do not want. Doing so can merely traumatize the little ones and, worse, push them to distance themselves from you emotionally. If making vegetables more appetizing matters to you, then you should keep the techniques above in mind.
Hopefully, that solves your food problems with the kids. Good luck!