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Author: Melissa Wright
5 Ways to Sell Kids on Eating Vegetables
I know getting kids to eat vegetables seems like a never ending struggle sometimes. As infants, they happily ate everything we gave them, then just a couple of years later the only vegetables they’re eating are corn and maybe carrots! There’s still time to teach them healthy food habits, so don’t despair!
Here’s a few tips you can use to get your kids to eat vegetables!
- Set a good example. The kids learn by watching you. If they see you enjoying vegetables, they are more likely to eat them too. Try not to bribe them into eating their vegetables, sometimes it can lead to negative associations with food.
- Offer Variety at each meal. Give the kids a little control by offering a couple different vegetable options at each meal, by letting them choose they can feel like they aren’t forced into eating their vegetables.
- Get the kids involved. Let the kids help choose vegetables at the store or farmer’s market. This gives you an opportunity to teach them about vegetables too. Have them help in the garden by planting and picking. This way they learn where their food comes from. Let them help in meal prep too! Good things for them to do include: washing and breaking up greens, grating cheese, stirring up things that aren’t hot, pressing the “go” button on the food processor, cutting soft foods—like mushrooms—with a butter knife (supervised, of course).
- Use the one bite rule. Research consistently shows that children who have initially rejected a food must be exposed to it at least 8-10 times for the food to be accepted. I’ve had good luck using this rule. They have to take at least one bite of something. I’ve even had them try and eat at least half of what I’ve given them. After enough exposures, the food will be more familiar to them and usually they begin to fight eating it less.
- Don’t give up. Some kids are more difficult than others when it comes to eating vegetables, and will require more effort and patience. Dont forget that the habits they develop at a young age will remain with them long into adulthood.
Even though they will try your patience and probably put up a good amount of resistance, it is worth solving picky eating problems as soon as possible. Continue to set a good example, create fun, positive experiences around food, let them help in the kitchen, enforce the one bite rule and do anything else you can to keep exposing them, in a pleasant way, to the healthy foods they reject. Your persistence will pay off. You kids will be eating vegetables before you know it!
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