Busy Moms – Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables – 4 Top Ways (& 1 Hack Not to Use)
Posted On April 23, 2021
What’s even more important than getting your kids to eat vegetables? Get your kids to eat and ENJOY vegetables!
These are proven to be the best ways to increase the chances that your children will eat and ENJOY vegetables. Also, a very popular trick will get your kids to eat veggies, but make it even less LIKELY for them to enjoy veggies in the long run.
# 4 – Introduce a wide variety of vegetables from 6 to 12 months
There is a great opportunity between 6 and 12 months of age when your child will want to try new foods and will be more accepting of new foods. Later, naturally, you will become more skeptical of any “new” food, even if you have seen and eaten it before. Introducing your child to the widest variety of vegetables and textures possible before he reaches this stage can maximize the amount of food your child will accept.
# 3 – Present vegetables in a neutral way
Don’t have a preconceived idea about what your child will enjoy and what he will not enjoy. If you have a defeatist “I know Billy will hate broccoli” attitude, your child will pick up on negativity. The same is true if you place a lot of importance on the fact that he likes something “Wow, you like Brussels sprouts.” Kids are smart, they’ll get the underlying message that Brussels sprouts are NOT to like, and your child will likely announce they don’t like them the next time you serve them.
# 2 – Repeat, repeat, repeat
Many children go through a stage where they are skeptical of anything new. They will announce that they “hate” something even before they have tried it. This is a normal stage of your child’s development. Like babies suddenly “get weird” with people. Estimates of the average number of exposures to a new food before children accept it range from 5 to 30! If spinach is something you eat regularly at home, keep eating it regularly. The underlying message to your child is that people eat spinach at home. Your child will eventually try it, and he may like it, or not. Try different recipes and preparations, cooked spinach as a garnish, spinach salad, sautéed spinach, in whatever way you enjoy eating them.
# 1 – eat vegetables yourself
Actions speak louder than words and little ones watch every move we make. The most successful way to ensure that your children do not eat vegetables is not to eat vegetables yourself. So, be a veggie-loving role model. And make all the important adults in your child’s life vegetable-loving role models.
1 trick you should NOT use
DON’T hide vegetables on the sly! This is a popular trick. It is tempting to do so because you are concerned that your child is not eating enough vegetables. While you will win the battle to eat vegetables in the short term, you will lose the long term war of getting your kids to eat and ENJOY vegetables. Children are smart and will find out sooner or later. They will learn that vegetables (and food in general) are something to be suspicious of. This will erode their trust in food and in you. They will also learn that vegetables are a terrible thing to hide. When you are not around to hide them, they will be less likely to choose vegetables. Now, this does not mean that you cannot add pureed vegetables to soups, pasta sauces, baking, etc. If you like the recipe, use it. It is the intention that is important. Ask yourself: are you hiding the veggie or are you adding it because you enjoy the flavor?