So today I share my 5 top tips for raising veggie loving kids…
1. Educate themTalk to your kids about vegetables. In my experience, kids are much more likely to eat something if they have an understanding of exactly what it is. My kids have always loved playing games (generally in the car) around vegetables. Things like ‘is it a fruit or a vegetable?’ or ‘where is it grown?’ (on a tree, vine, underground, bush). I’ve also learnt a few things in the process, thank goodness for Google.
2. Let them shopWhen you are shopping for veggies, get them to help. They could put five of the best looking carrots into a bag for you or choose the biggest broccoli. A friend of mine lets her kids pick one ‘new’ vegetable a week from the farmers market and her challenge is to prepare or cook it (and then her kids eat what they’ve chosen).
3. Let them help prepare themThere are many vegetables my kids wouldn’t consider worthy of eating until they helped prepare them. Leafy greens (rocket, spinach etc;) were the biggest veggie hurdle we’ve overcome. My son as a toddler used to push anything green and leafy off his plate stating ‘don’t like flowers’. Then one day he asked to ‘spin the flowers’ – he was fascinated by things that moved. To this day he loves ‘his job’ making salad (washing/spinning the leaves) and his first preference in food, believe it or not, is salad.
4. Love eating veggies yourselfKids are much more likely to follow your example, not your advice. So you can talk until you are blue in the face about how delicious vegetables are, unless you are eating them yourself, you will never get your kids on board. Next time they reject a vegetable, don’t get upset, instead offer it to other members of the family or gobble it up yourself stating ‘you don’t know what your missing out on’. Eventually the positive role modelling will rub off.
5. Never give upI can guarantee that persistence will pay off. I think I put salad leaves on my sons plate 1000’s of times before he ate a single leaf. If I didn’t persist, he would still be ‘leafy green’ fussy. If my kids don’t like a vegetable one way, I generally find another way to present it. They currently don’t like zucchini cooked, so I serve it raw. They hate pumpkin baked, but will happily eat it in a soup or lasagne. Patience, persistence and praise is my motto. I hope this post has given you some ideas that you can implement with your own kids. It’s never to late to turn around veggie fussy kids. My best selling ebook “The Well Nourished Lunchbox” is a 150 page guide to feeding your kids well. It includes loads of tips and recipes for including vegetables in their diets in the most delicious ways. Click here to watch a video for a taste of what’s inside.
Now over to you. Do you have any strategies or tips you can add? I’d love you to post a comment below!
HERE. For more about the pressure to give your kids junk food and how to handle the well meaning shop keepers, friends, grand parents etc; who insist on giving your kids lollies, click HERE.