Today, I would like to feature Rob Woods as my guest blogger with his helpful post about how to get your kids to eat more veggies!
This post might come in handy for this time of year when temptations are all around us with the holiday goodies at school, home, and work.
His post also points out that kids can get in on the act if you’re willing to let them help in the kitchen as you prepare your holiday meals! Take it away, Rob!
Eating the Rainbow: Four Ways to Get Children to Love Their Vegetables
We all had those moments as children, being told we had to eat our vegetables because they were good for us. Of course, they are, especially for those of us who are still growing. Yet there are more ways to get children to appreciate and love veggies than to be simply told to eat them. Here are some tips, courtesy of Words on a Page!
Make Snacks Healthy
One step to better appreciating their vegetables is by making them snackable. You could turn veggies into fun shapes, like butterflies and sheep, or mesmerize them with a veritable rainbow. Or even have vegetables replicate the textures of other favorites, like the crunch of chips replaced with carrots or bell peppers. There are plenty of snack choices that can also enrich your little one’s overall well-being with probiotics. Look to fermented options, like cheeses, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, kimchi, miso, and yogurt. Even apple cider vinegar and kombucha can be used. These can be easily turned into snacks; however, if you don’t want to rely daily on fermented options, probiotic supplements may be prudent. Remember, when introducing healthy snack options, make sure that they are easily accessible and far more prominent than unhealthier alternatives.
Lead By Example
Inspiration can come from many sources, but for most children, the most important role models in their lives are their parents. When we lead by example, we can cultivate positive habits and galvanize our little ones to emulate our actions. Make a conscious effort to show enthusiasm for veggies and healthy food. Snack on veggies just as you want your little ones to. Feature them prominently in your own meals. You don’t have to transform your diet overnight. Instead, be gradual, just as you might be as you progressively make your kids’ meals healthier over time. Make your new habits a central part of family life. Eat together, and make this a positive experience that your little ones can associate happily with a healthier lifestyle.
Raw carrots, broccoli, you name it—even for some adults, veggies can be an acquired taste. For children, taste can be a source of absolutes. Either they love something, or they hate it. However, experimenting with different flavors and textures can change that complexion. Provide children with various options for them to use. Mix vegetables into their all-time favorites, like pizza toppings. Have dips on hand, such as ketchup, ranch dressing and salsa. They may go some way to replicate foods that they positively associate with these dips. Be sure to use condiments that have natural ingredients. If you feel that might not be enough, indulge their sweet tooth just a tad by adding a little bit of sugar or juice to some of their vegetables. While they should one day have their vegetables without these embellishments, it’s a good way to have them enjoy them for now.
Sometimes, it may feel like our little ones don’t understand the effort that goes into their meals, or even what ingredients go into making them. After all, they may only see the end product. They may better appreciate what they eat, as well as the health benefits of veggies, if they are more involved. If they are old enough, have them help out in the kitchen. Use this as an opportunity to introduce your little ones to an essential life skill. Make the process fun, and allow them to make a little mess as they get a handle on some of the basics of cooking. Have your little ones accompany you on trips to the store or even to a local farmers market. Encourage them to make their own choices, or at least let them decide between two options if they are very young. Make these trips educational experiences, where you could teach them about the background of each vegetable, and what health benefits they have.
Give your little ones more positive snacks, and don’t avoid adding extra textures to veggies at first. Bring your little ones into the kitchen. Let them participate in making veggie-rich meals, and connect them to what they eat. With patience, you may find your children embrace a healthier lifestyle, and take an active part in it, too.
Image Courtesy of Pexels.com
Thanks for the shout out, Rob!
I hope this is a good reminder for everyone with kids, especially during this indulgent time of year.