Effective Ways On How You Can Encourage Your Child To Eat Vegetables


Guest posts presented here have so far been deliberately limited, but when Lily Sommers proposed such an interesting topic, I could not turn this one down. Although I don’t have children of my own, I do remember the creative ways my mum would devise to make dinner more appetizing. Neither my sister nor I were picky eaters; Mum did it just for the love, captivating and inspiring me, in the process, into culinary adventures of my own. If you are a parent with persnickety kids when it comes to eating vegetables, then read on; Lily has some helpful tips.

Eating vegetables benefit children in multiple ways — decreased obesity risk, improved nutrition, and better school performance. The green leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin B, beta-carotene, and vitamin A that can strengthen their immune system to combat diseases and bacterial infections. Serving them with carrots can also improve their vision and give them healthy-growing teeth and strong gums. Vincent Iannelli M.D., resident nutritionist for About.com Pediatrics, recommends at least two servings of fruits and three to five servings of vegetables every day, for children ages 2 to 6, as they require higher nutrient to support their body’s quick development and growth.

Unfortunately, most children don’t meet this requirement at all. The Ohio State research published by the San Francisco Gate in 2011 said that only 22% of toddlers and preschoolers and 16% of children ages 6 to 11 meet their required nutrition. Apart from lack of availability in local grocery stores, the study shows that children in nature hate the bitter taste derived from most vegetables. Today, we will give you an idea on how you can encourage your child to eat vegetables without the need to force them.

Start Early

Whole9life.com suggested that the first on the list is for you to start early. If you are still carrying your child, you can eat plenty of vegetables for your baby to build up a taste for these healthy foods while inside your womb, said the researchers from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “Flavors from the mother’s diet during pregnancy are transmitted to amniotic fluid and swallowed by the fetus,” the study concludes. In the event that they start eating solid food as a toddler, practice feeding them with softly boiled potatoes and carrots.

Perseverance

Your child may hate a particular food you serve today and love it on the following day. In line with this, David Egan of Parents For Health discussed the importance of parent’s perseverance on a similar blog. He believes that sometimes, your child needs to be presented with a new food multiple times before they will start eating it. There is no harm in trying to prepare three servings on a daily basis. If your child hates carrots, just keep serving them (in different recipes). They may eventually try them if they see that you exert a great deal of effort in trying to convince them.

Small Portions

In your initial weeks of introducing a vegetarian diet for your child, you should only keep their portions small. Dr. John Lee of Virginia Hopkins Test Kits said, “if your child will only eat three mouthfuls of peas and one carrot stick, that’s just fine.” They don’t need large portions of vegetables as it will just give them more pressure to conform. As suggested by M&S Health and Nutrition resource, children over the age of 5 “can eat the same meals as the rest of the family, including more starchy foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables– but watch their portion sizes and the amount of saturated fat they are eating.” If you serve them cooked beans, always research about its nutritional content. It might be high in vitamin B and organic protein, but it can also be high in uric acid.

Serve Them While They Are Hungry

“If they’re hungry, they’ll eat,” said Dr. Ann Kulze, family physician and author of “Eat Right for Life” on CNN health. Before serving the proper meals you’ve prepared on the dining table, serve an appetizer of
vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, red bell peppers, steamed broccoli, beans, sugar snap peas, and colorful vegetables for your children to munch on.

Appetizing Fruit And Vegetables

Children will likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they see it as presentable and appetizing. Be creative when making your preparations. Try the following ideas:

  • Use cookie cutters to shape fruits and vegetables into cool shapes and/or cartoon characters.
  • Arrange the vegetables’ placement on their dinning plate to make it appear like a rainbow.
  • You can also play with their sandwiches with shapes and faces made from vegetables.

Start A Garden With Your Child

Most grocery stores lack fresh vegetables. Thus, you should grow your own source of these healthy foods. When starting a vegetable garden, involve your children in the process. There is a greater chance that they will eat the veggies that they grow themselves.

These are some of the effective ways on how you can encourage them to eat healthy vegetables. As parents, do you have other means of doing this? Share them below.

About the Author

Lily Sommers is a proud vegetarian. She believes that these healthy food groups should be promoted to young children for them to grow healthy and well-nourished. This contribution for Vegan Lovlie is a result of her intensive research and experience with her niece. Connect with Lily via Google+.
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