Getting Your Children to Eat Vegetables
Getting kids to eat vegetables may require some creative marketing, since they seem to be the most contested foods in households with young children. Here are some tips to help make your child into a veggie lover.
The Bite Rule
Use “The Bite Rule” to encourage a reluctant or picky eater. Ask your child to take at least three bites, or choose a number that is probably more than your child would choose on her own, but don’t go so far that you’re force-feeding her. The bite rule encourages your child to taste new foods, while still giving her some control over her own eating. This tool can be especially helpful when getting kids to eat vegetables that are new or unfamiliar.
If your child is going through a picky eater stage, invite a friend over who is the same age as your child, or slightly older who “likes to eat.” Your child will catch on. Group feeding allows your child to learn from other children’s positive example.
Children (and adults) think that immersing foods in a tasty dip is pure fun, and delightfully messy. This trick is especially helpful when getting kids to eat vegetables more frequently. Some possibilities to dip into:
- Cottage cheese or tofu dip
- Cream cheese
- Fruit juice-sweetened preserves
- Peanut butter, thinly spread
- Pureed fruits or vegetables
- Yogurt, plain or sweetened with juice concentrate.
These dips serve equally well as spreads on apples or pear slices, bell-pepper strips, rice cakes, bagels, toast, and other nutritious platforms.
Appearance is important. For getting kids to eat vegetables, why not use your child’s own toy plates for dishing out a snack? Our kids enjoy the unexpected and fanciful when it comes to serving dishes. Anything from plastic measuring cups to ice-cream cones can be used to make trying healthy new foods fun.
Use a small cookie cutter to cut vegetables into interesting shapes. This is a fun way to eat vegetables!
Steam Your Greens
They are much more flavorful and usually sweeter than when raw.
Most children need to try a new food 10-15 times before they develop a taste for it, so make a point of introducing a new item multiples times. This is especially true in getting kids to eat vegetables and fruits they’ve never tried, or other unfamiliar items.