What is it about vegetables that from the beginning stages of life we turn it into either a love or hate relationship? What is it about greens that we have to convince others, both kids and adults, that they are good and needed in your daily diet? And speaking of kids…what is it about vegetables that parents need to arm themselves with such patience and parsimony, including jokes and tales, to persuade children to eat them?
So how frustrating it is to spend time planning, shopping, and cooking to finally place the plate on the table and watch your kids burst into a food tantrum, pushing the food away, saying they don’t like it without even trying it. Before losing it all together, I have watched some of my friends seat at the table with their kids and show them how yummy eating vegetables can be, making faces, funny sounds and demonstrating how to eat, chew and swallow greens. Can you relate to this story?
If you do, I have good news for you. There are indeed easy and yes, delightful ways to get your kids to eat their veggies. And yes, without any preaching or practical demonstrations.
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- Identify his/her favorite dishes.
- Identify those vegetables your kid won’t eat even if you coat them in chocolate or cover with ice-cream.
- Identify also those veggies he/she might like or might show an interest in trying.
- Make them part of your grocery shopping time, but don’t pick a day when you will be rushing or without enough time to interact and help them choose what they like. Going to the Farmer’s Market on a Saturday can be very fun and delicious too. They would have even have the opportunity to sample fresh produce from local farms.
- Talk to them. If they like carrots, for example, ask them how they would like them prepared.
- If your children are young, make them also part of the prep and cooking process. Getting them involved and related to food will inspire their creativity and fuel their desire for trying new things and for more.
- Make sure there are always vegetables ready and around for them to eat. So they don’t become the “awful, unknown” item that “we are forced to eat every Wednesday night.”
- Start by adding those vegetables he/she might like to every dish served and to every dish he/she might like. For example pizza, you can top it with an array of vegetables—broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, you name it. Everything goes well with pizza, anyway!
- Most importantly, share, try new things with them, make it fun; play with shapes, textures and colors (especially colors!), make it easy and delicious!
Watch for next week when we post a great vegetable dish that’s 100% “picky eater” approved!
Learn more about Fernanda Beccaglia.