Pretty much every parent has been in a situation where they have served up a delicious meal, only to have children refuse to eat it. Often it’s because the kids don’t want to eat their vegetables. It’s understandable. After all, if we are really honest with ourselves there aren’t a whole lot of vegetables that are going to taste great to kids.
Still, it is important that your children get veggies in their diets if they are to grow up strong and develop good eating habits for the future. That’s why we have compiled a short list of useful tips that should get your kids eating their greens.
Set The Example
If mommy and daddy won’t eat their broccoli, why should the kids? You may have to sacrifice a little bit here by eating the vegetables that you don’t like in an effort to get your children to follow suit, but remember that you are always going to be the number one example that your children follow. If you eat your vegetables without complaining, the odds are high that your kids are going to do the same.
Involve Your Kids
There’s something to be said for reaping the fruits of your labor. People tend to enjoy things more when they have been involved in their creation and you can use this to your advantage during meal times. Give your children tasks to follow when creating meals and you will usually find that they are more willing to eat the end product, even if it does contain vegetables. Try taking your children grocery shopping and teach them how to pick out healthy foods. Getting that food from the shop to the dinner plate is a process that your kids will enjoy being a part of and they will certainly eat something they have made themselves.
A Little Is Better Than None
So what if you have really stubborn kids? The type who say “no” to everything can be a bit of a chore when it comes to meal times, so just remember that a little is always better than nothing at all. Tell your children that they only need to eat a certain amount of their vegetables, rather than the whole portion, and they will be more likely to try them. You may even get away with serving larger portions and getting them to eat half, so they get what they need anyway. The key here is that your kids shouldn’t feel like they are being forced to eat, as this will probably lead to more rebellion and leads to them associating vegetables with punishments.
Create A Reward System
There are plenty of things you can offer your kids as rewards for eating healthily. A lot of parents use a sticker system, but you could just as easily allow them to watch half an hour of their favorite TV shows or let them spend some time playing videogames for finishing their vegetables. The prospect of a reward for finishing is just as effective in kids as an incentive scheme at work is for adults.
The meals you offer to your kids should include plenty of options so they don’t feel like they are eating the same things over and over. In some cases kids won’t eat their vegetables because they are bored with them, so come up with a few creative dishes that really get the juices flowing. If that’s a struggle, try mixing veggies in with different types of meals or serving them up alongside fruit as smoothies. Variety is key because kids often get bored really easily and this can lead to them rejecting their veggies.