Teaching your children to eat right is one of the toughest challenges we, as parents, face today. It’s so hard to make sure that they are getting all the right stuff in without making it seem like eating isn’t something to be enjoyed. We are doubly impacted by the nonstop onslaught of advertisement and influence encouraging poor eating habits all the time. I find that teaching my children about moderations and balance are the best ways to ensure that they will eat well. Here are some more tips that I use to encourage my kids to pick vegetables first!
2. I am totally for the hidden veggie method of getting your child to try something new and/or different. But I take it a step further by waiting for them to say how much they like it and then tell them what’s in it – logic usually wins out at that point.
3. We are lucky to live in a town with lots of “You Pick” farms in the outlying areas. So on the weekends we drive out to these farms and have a great family outing picking fresh fruits and veggies.
4. We have a rule that you have to try everything three times. The reason we say three times is that there is the possibility that the first time it was poorly prepared and wouldn’t be a good showing of that particular food and we also want them to try prepared in a different manner – just in case because they might prefer it raw versus cooked and vice versa.
5. When making the plates of food for dinner, I always have the veggie portion as big as, if not bigger than the meat/protein portion.
6. If my kids are hungry for a snack I always give a fruit or veggie option first. If they finish that and are still hungry, they can have something a little more “snacky”.
7. We have made friends with the produce workers in our grocery stores. These are really knowledgeable people that can be a great resource. My kids love to ask where things came from, what part of the plant it is. And they often let you have a little taste test of different things, if you ask.
8. Make salad art! If your kids don’t dig on the idea of a bowl of lettuce – make it into something fun. You can easily turn all the usual salad ingredients into something playful like a face or animal.
9. Offer it with dip. For some reason kids love sauces and dips of any kids, so they are much more willing to try something when they get to dip it in to a sauce.
10. Understand that they won’t like every single vegetable and accept it. Not every adult likes it all – I don’t like uncooked tomatoes or olives – so how can you expect your child to like it all. If you are fairly certain that they don’t dislike it just on principle that it’s a veggie then let it go.
As I said, it’s so important to start young and teach your children to pick the veggies first. They need that healthy foundation for a balanced lifestyle when they grow up.
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