Every parent knows that fruits and veggies are good for the growing body. But we also know how hard it can be to get our children to choose greens over pizza. Very few children actually meet the federal recommendations for nutrition. Lucky for you, there are ways to train your child to be a healthy eater without turning you into the broccoli monster! Try out these five tips and see for yourself…
Charm them into the kitchen:
When your kids won’t budge, it’s tough to come up with clever ways to get them the nutrition they need. But one way to get rid of their greasy ways is to have the children cook with you! If your kid can help you prepare even some of the meal, they’ll be more inclined to eat it because it’s their creation. If children feel important by being asked to pitch in, they’ll take pride in that project and have more of an open mind when asked to eat it. Also an added bonus: math and reading skills will increase when measuring and reading recipes.
Play with the produce:
It’s crucial that your kids develop the taste for fruits and vegetables early on. But don’t fret if it hasn’t happened yet. The best solution is to give the goods in forms he/she will like; such as seasoning asparagus with salt, pepper, olive oil, and a splash of vinegar while cooking. Other options are homemade fruit juice popsicles and dried fruits. You can also find more recipes that have veggies and taste good here.
Make any food a “snack food”:
When you think of snacks for kids, you're probably thinking cookies, chips, and chicken nuggets. But these obviously aren’t nutritional. As long as snacks have a balance, they can be okay. Look at labels and check for the unwanted ingredients like trans fats, excess salt, and excess sugar. Some suggestions would be oatmeal with banana slices, yogurt parfaits, a small amount of cereal, or mini quesadillas. These are “mini-meals” that will fill them up and give them energy and the nourishment they need.
The sneaky chef method:
If you can’t coax your kids into eating the greens, you may be forced to slip it in without their knowing. This method means pureeing veggies and it might not be new, but hey, it works! This is a sly way to boost your family’s nutritional intake, including all of the tiny details, like whole-wheat pasta instead of white. This website for moms has enough recipes to last a few months that your kids will love!
Try again… and again… and again:
There have been studies that show that kids need to taste some foods up to twelve times before finally liking it. For those of you that have older kids, you know what I’m talking about; your child most likely likes olives now, even though they didn’t five years ago. The secret to this though, is not waiting until they’re older. The trick is to have them try the particular food more than once while they're still young. If it takes a dozen times for a child to like something, maybe have them try it once a month for a year; or every two weeks for six months.
Another way to get your child to try new foods is to create a rating system on a white board. Prepare a new fruit or veggie every night of the week and write the names on the board. Once your child has taken two to three bites of the new food, they can rate the food from 1-5. This creates a game for your kids and you can even label it "Food Critics."