Once your child transitions to solid food, you hope that they develop good habits. By good habits, we mean no processed foods and more veggies. But it’s notoriously difficult to get kids to eat the good stuff. How do you teach them not to dread or refuse healthy meals? Don’t worry. Below are tips to turn your kid into a vegetable lover.
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1. Use Spices
Many parents are under the impression that kids’ food should be bland. If you don’t enjoy eating flavorless veggies, then why would your kids? Instead of serving up some carrot or celery sticks as a snack, you could try making a flavorful stir fry.
Making an effort to make vegetables taste good makes a difference. You might be surprised that your kid could change their mind about a vegetable they dislike just by changing how it’s prepared. Introducing new flavors to your kid’s palate will also make them willing to try unfamiliar foods in the future.
2. Don’t Hide the Vegetables
Sneaking vegetables into your kid’s meals by grinding them up or slathering them with sauce sends the wrong message. You’re implying that vegetables are undesirable and are not to be eaten by themselves. By highlighting the healthy elements of a dish, you’re training your child to think that healthy food can also be yummy.
Remember to add in more tasty stuff, like good fats and proteins, to make the dish more appealing. Over time, your kid won’t shy away from healthier food options because they’re used to it. It’s important that children know exactly what they’re eating to make them more aware of their eating patterns as they grow older.
3. Liven Up Salads
Salads don’t have to be boring! Handing your child a bowl of shredded lettuce is not a good idea. You want to add in more textural elements to make the salad more interesting. Experiment with different kinds of dressings and make your own vinaigrettes. Toss in multiple ingredients like nuts, cheese, croutons, raisins, or apples. Introduce new flavors to your child by varying up salads. Get inspiration from different countries and take your kid on a culinary journey right in the comfort of your home.
4. Don’t Force It
There are some days when your kid would rather go for something meaty. It’s important that you don’t pressure your child to eat vegetables if they don’t feel like it. Forcing something on your child makes them think that it’s an unpleasant thing that they’re obligated to do.
It’s also helpful to give your kid the power of choice. If he/she asks for specific vegetables prepared in their favorite ways, don’t hesitate to grant the request. Try hard not to judge their choices even if you’d rather make something else.
You also shouldn’t be disappointed if your kid doesn’t like a vegetable the first time they try it. That doesn’t mean the vegetable has ended up on the no-eat list. Try to serve it again after some time has passed.
If you need more nutritional tips on what vegetables are good for your kid, Gym-Expert.com can help.
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5. Introduce Vegetables as Early as Possible
Start them young. If you have an infant who’s just starting with baby food, make a habit of preparing homemade vegetable purees. This will acclimate your child to the taste of vegetables. Processed baby food is often blander than their homemade counterparts. Once your child makes the switch to real solid food, the strong flavors of vegetables might overwhelm him/her. So as early as infancy, get your child to eat the real thing.
6. Explain the Benefits of Eating Vegetables
It’s good to have a healthy dialogue about food. Let your child know that eating vegetables comes with a lot of benefits like:
- Strengthens bones
- Keeps your hair, skin, and nails shiny
- Makes you less susceptible to diseases
- Regulates bowel movement
When your kid is aware of why vegetables are a necessary part of a balanced diet, they’ll treat it as a reward.
It’s stressful to have to deal with a picky eater. As a parent, you need to make sure that your child is getting all the nourishment that he/she needs. So train your child to think that vegetables aren’t a punishment and are meant to be enjoyed.