Getting our kids to eat fruits and vegetables can be challenging, more so to make them LIKE it. My daughter used to be really good at that until she reached 17 months, now it is a war that I’m battling. She is getting pickier by the day I swear. So here are the tips I use with her to encourage her to eat her greens and fruits!
1 – Lead example
One thing I noticed is that if my daughter doesn’t even want to taste the food, I say “ok let me try it first then it’s your turn!” and it usually works. Sometimes kids can be scared by the unknown so this is a way to actually help them tasting new food.
Kids LOVE to do the same thing as adults so seeing you eat something can incite them to do the same (it doesn’t work every time but sometimes it does!).
Your children eating habits often reflect yours. If you eat no vegetables, your kids most likely won’t. So another tips is to have an healthy and balanced nutrition to lead example. Eat fruits for snacks instead of processed food…Etc.
2 – Hide the fruits and veggies
So much to say on this topic I could make a whole post about that but I’m gonna try to be quick. If there is one thing they really like (or that they eat at least), you can try to sneak some vegetables in. Best dish for that : pasta sauce. Purée or grate some vegetables and cook it all in the pasta sauce. Kids won’t notice and they’ll lick their plates.
Smoothies or fresh juices are also a good way to help them eating their 5 a day.
I am not saying this THE solution because it is so important that your kids learn to eat fruits and veggies by themselves, willingly. But it’s interesting to up their intake of plant food.
3 – Keep trying
Parenting is all about patience and keep trying things. Continue to offer your kid veggies and fruits even if he doesn’t eat or whine about it. It takes time. Sometimes you’ll be tired and will be tempted to give him fries everyday and call it a day but it is not helping your kid. Encourage him to AT LEAST try what you offer and then he can make the choice wether he likes it or not.
When my daughter doesn’t like something in her plate, I tell her to eat X bites of the food and then if she doesn’t want more she can leave it in the plate. Everyone will have their own way, I only give you tips that are working for us. No rules in parenting.
4 – Make food funny
Making food look funny in the plate is helping some kids (not mine apparently) to eat. Mine is maybe too small to understand or find it funny. Make a house, a boat… Pinterest is full of ideas.
Encourage your child to try saying “can you eat the birds in the sky??”etc… It becomes funny and maybe they’ll try.
5 – Involve your kids
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This one is very important to me. From the moment where the kid link the preparation with the food is eating, it will be very positive to make him prep the food with you. It’ll take you an hour instead of 30 minutes but it is so important for bonding with your kid and making him realize he is preparing the meal he’s gonna eat. Make him shred lettuce or cut, mix… depending on his age. If he helps prepare it, he will try it!
So here you have it, 5 tips to help your child eating/liking veggies. If it helps just one of you I’ll be thrilled, parenting is hard and each kid is different. Share your tips in the comments!