Getting your child to eat their vegetables is a war that parents have been fighting for decades. Instead of your dinner table becoming a war zone, try these tips for getting your children to eat their vegetables. In an age where childhood obesity is at an all-time high, parents are right to be concerned about the lack of vegetables being consumed by their child. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help a child from becoming overweight. A child elementary school aged should be getting 2 cups of vegetables a day for optimum health benefits.
Set a good example.
If you are a picky eater and don’t particularly care for vegetables, your child is probably going to follow suit. Children mimic their parents and your bad eating habits can be bad for your child’s health. If you want your child to grow up healthy, you are going to need to follow suit by eating your vegetables also.
Children are more likely to eat something that they had a hand in preparing. Most children are capable of helping out in the kitchen with supervision. Washing vegetables, learning how to use a vegetable peeler and even arranging vegetables on a serving tray are all tasks that an elementary school child can handle. Involve your children in the preparation of meals and not only will it give you quality time together but you will be teaching your child how to cook.
Many children don’t like the taste of cooked vegetables. Let’s face it, an overcooked vegetable can lack flavor and just taste mushy. With some vegetables, cooking makes the flavor stronger and can be a turn-off to a picky eater. Instead of serving cooked vegetables as a side dish, serve a raw vegetable platter. This can be a great way to start off a meal or have it on the table as a side to an entrée.
Entice your child by serving the vegetables with a dip like yogurt, ranch dressing or any other dressing that they may enjoy. A platter of raw carrot sticks, celery, peppers, broccoli and grape or cherry tomatoes is a great way to have your children eat vegetables.
If your child is a fan of peanut butter or cream cheese, have them prepare celery sticks spread with their choice. This is also a good after school snack. If your child likes bagels, make your own vegetable cream cheese by finely pureeing vegetables and stirring it into softened cream cheese. The vegetables are small enough that they can see they are there but still makes the cream cheese tasty and healthier.
What they can’t see can only make them healthier.
That’s right, do what Moms have been doing for decades; hide the vegetables. If you have forgotten Mom’s tricks for hiding vegetables, here are a few examples.
Use your food processor to finely chop celery, zucchini, spinach, carrots and any other vegetables in any combinations that you can think of. Mix it in to your meatloaf. Today’s Moms who are concerned about giving their family protein but are watching their fat and cholesterol intake can use ground chicken, turkey or lean ground sirloin instead of traditional meatloaf mix which is normally pork and beef.
Tomatoes are a vegetable but in order to make it a super veggie sauce you can chop vegetables like zucchini, peppers, spinach, carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms and add them to your sauce. Meat or no meat, another trick is to use beans like lentils to add extra protein. If your child is finicky about chunky sauce, puree or finely chop the vegetables. They will cook into the sauce.
Making homemade soup is another way to sneak vegetables into your child’s diet. You can add tons of vegetables to a soup and then serve the child only the broth with pasta. Another option is to puree the soup after it is cooked. Turning it into a creamy soup that they will not even suspect is made with vegetables is a sneaky way to get your children to eat their vegetables.
Getting your child to eat their vegetables takes a little creative thinking but it isn’t impossible. You will be teaching them good habits that will last a lifetime once you get them accustomed to eating vegetables.