How to get your child to eat vegetables
- :Mary Silva
What you need: a good attitude and a little creativity
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is your own attitude and approach toward eating in general.
Avoid forcing your children to eat vegetables – or any other food for that matter. Encourage children to try a spoonful, but don’t get upset if they refuse it. Eventually, they will try it, so keep reintroducing various foods from time to time.
Some other tricks of the trade
- Add vegetables to store-bought foods or to those you already prepare.
- Set out a plate of raw vegetables or a salad of cold, cooked vegetables before the meal – the time when your child is hungriest.
- Keep a bowl of cherry tomatoes or baby carrots in the refrigerator for a quick and handy snack. (Of course, you’ll want to take into account the fact that these foods can be potential choking hazards for toddlers and preschoolers.)
- Serve raw or lightly steamed vegetables with salad dressing or cheese sauce for dipping.
- Make mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes – sweet potatoes contain lots of vitamin A.
- Let children make their own tacos with shredded lettuce, tomato, ground turkey and a little cheese.
- Try not to overcook vegetables. Light cooking preserves taste, bright appearance, and valuable vitamins.
- Help make your child familiar with vegetables. Serve them everyday.
- Prepare meals together (for example, younger children can wash, and older ones can chop vegetables for stir-fry dishes and salads).
- Let your child help choose fresh vegetables when you’re shopping.
- Plant a vegetable garden with your child. Or just put a small cherry tomato plant in a pot in a sunny spot in the yard.
How to get more vegies into your family diet
If your child rejects a lot of vegetables, try slipping them into food by:
- making muffins with your child and adding pumpkin, zucchini or shredded carrots to the muffin mix
- tucking in a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice or carrot curls into sandwiches
- adding chopped spinach or a handful of frozen vegetables to soups, ramen noodles, spaghetti sauce or lasagna
- adding chopped tomato or grated carrots to tuna, chicken or pasta salads
- cooking frozen mixed vegetables according to the directions and then adding them to store-bought potato salad
- making pizza with your child and adding chopped broccoli or spinach to frozen pizza or frozen bread dough topped with tomato sauce
- adding chopped broccoli or extra carrots to canned or dried chicken soup.
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