7 ways to get children to eat vegetables

The aeroplane. The train. The distraction. The disguise. All tried and failed methods of getting picky eaters to eat their vegetables at dinner time. We’ve put together some useful tips to help make vegetables appetising, maybe not straight away but if you stick with these methods your child’s eating habits should change for the better.

Employ some “hero worshipping” techniques

Tell your little one that their favourite athlete or cartoon character eats broccoli. This should encourage them to gobble up their broccoli in no time, just to be as big and as strong as their role model.

Get them involved with their meal

Children are more likely to enjoy eating vegetables if they were involved in the cooking process, starting with the food shop. You’ll soon stir an interest by letting them select what they eat. Invite your child to help you cook dinner and if he/she is old enough, let them chop up the veggies. They will be eager to try out their creation.

Make yourself the example

They might look up to Superman or Batman, but mammy and daddy will always be their number one. Set proper diets and eating schedules for yourself, and trust that your children will soon follow your example.

Let kids feel like they’re in control

Let children think they’re winning by offering choices. Instead of asking, “do you want broccoli,” which they will decline, try, “do you want carrots or broccoli?” This deviously lets them make a decision they never thought they would make. Put out various healthy toppings and sides to a main dish and let them pick based on what looks best to them.

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Food and eating don’t have to be serious

Kids are just that – kids. They love games and silly things. Arrange foods into a funny face or pretty picture on the plate. Cook vegetables separately, rather than into a stew to make this easier. Stir their interests by likening food to their favourite things. Cauliflower can be mini trees to feed their newly acquired dinosaur persona. Celery can be the steel rails needed to make them grow tall and strong.

Pair new foods with old ones

It’s easier to convince your child to unblock their mouth if vegetables are topped with something familiar, like cheese or bacon. Make vegetables friendly by seasoning them with garlic, lemon or fresh herbs.

Invent delicious recipes

Vegetables don’t have to be bland. Let children feel comfortable eating spinach by making it seem less alien. Take a look at MasterChef winner Whitney Miller’s recipe for Mac ‘n’ Cheese, minus the mac, for inspiration. The main ingredient in this dish is cauliflower, but no-one can tell unless they know!

Nutrition expert Nicci Micco reminds us that it can take 10 to 15 tries until a child willingly eats a new food. Be patient as you join your children on the journey of discovering their taste buds. Bon appetite!

maternity & infant

Originally posted 2016-06-14 10:59:24.