Vegetables are an essential part of a varied, healthy and balanced diet. It is important that your child eats vegetables daily so that they remain healthy and develop normally. One of the biggest challenges parents face is getting their children to eat vegetables. This is sometimes because they don’t like the taste, texture, or color and occasionally because they have choked on a particular food when they were younger and this has developed into a phobia. Here are some tips on how you can get your children to eat vegetables.
Start As You Mean To Go On
It is important to introduce a wide range of vegetables from the start. This can be done even in the early stages of weaning your child as vegetables are ideal for mashing pureeing. They are also fantastic finger foods when your child moves to the next stage.
Set an Example
Children mimic their parent’s behaviour If they see you eating a variety of vegetables daily, then they will see this as being the norm and follow your lead. If they only see you eating junk food, then vegetables will become an alien concept that they be unwilling to eat.
Make It Fun and Involve Them
Making mealtimes and the food that is served can help the meal to seem more appealing. One way of doing this is to turn the food into pictures. For example, top a pizza with cherry tomatoes and slices of pepper arranged into the design of a face. Children also like to be involved in the cooking process and if they have made the food their selves or helped to prepare it, it can make the vegetables served more appealing.
Grow Your Own
Seeing the whole process of the creation of vegetables, from seed to serving on a plate, can make the food seem interesting. If they get involved in this process, they will feel pride in what they have achieved. It is also a great way to educate children about how plants grow and the sources of different food types.
Disguise the Vegetables
If you are really struggling to get your child to eat vegetables and want them to benefit from the nutrients, then you can disguise the vegetables. One way is to dice them up very finely in foods like casseroles, chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognese. Soups are also a great way to disguise the vegetable content as they are usually pureed. Similarly, making homemade pasta sauces with ingredients such as tomatoes, peppers and onions is a good way of disguising what their meal contains.