By Fredrica Syren:
Being the mom of three wonderful little rascals, I face my battles with how to get my kids to eat their veggies. I should not complain because I’m blessed to have kids who generally love all kinds of fruits and eat lots of veggies. However, my oldest likes only a narrow range of vegetables such as carrots, beans and broccoli; my middle one is the challenge because he will eat some veggies if I push, but just does not like most of them except for beets or beans. So over the years, I have learned tricks for how to get him to eat more vegetables. Here is what I have learned.
- Parents need to be role models and eat lots of veggies — Kids do look at us adults to lead the way when it comes to how they eat and what they eat. If we don’t eat our veggies, they won’t, either.
- Make sure to buy good quality vegetables — No one likes sad looking and sad tasting food, so make sure the veggies are really fresh and come from a good source.
- Let kids help pick out the vegetables — My kids love having their own little bags when going grocery shopping. They can pick out two vegetables of their choice to bring home in their own bags. They are way more interested in trying to eat them this way.
- Let kids help prepare the vegetables — First of all, kids love to help out in the kitchen, and I have found that when they cook their own food, they tend to eat it because they are so proud of their achievements.
- Be a sneaky mom — Over the years, I also have learned how to add more vegetables into foods they like. For example, I make avocado ice cream; put zucchini, peas and dark leafy greens into smoothies; make creamy soups with broccoli and kale; and add carrots and zucchini to baked goods.
- Be calm and never get angry — We want the kids to enjoy sitting at the dinner table. Nothing will make it more uncomfortable for children to eat than confrontations and angry parents. It’s so easy to get frustrated when your kids won’t eat the food we’ve slaved over, but it’s important to know it’s a journey and work in progress. By making eating vegetables fun, they will eventually come around.