Encouraging kids to eat healthy foods can be a struggle, especially when it comes to vegetables. Forget about the end result, and focus on making healthy eating fun and educational each day. The goal is to eat foods that naturally represent all of the colors of the rainbow (Fruit Loops don’t count!), and foods that come from a plant (the green kind, not the manufacturing kind).
Have your kids pick the vegetables they are willing to try. Discover their likes/dislikes and get some quality time together. Make sure to let your children be your guide through the produce section. The sky’s the limit as long as your cart reflects the rainbow!
Serve family style
Let your kids serve themselves. As a mother, it is hard to resist large servings for your little ones. Even if they only take a one-bite serving, kids will be more likely to eat it and return for more if they’re in control of their own choices.
Wrap it up
Trying new veggies can be fun when you serve them in a novel way. Try tacos, burritos and summer-roll wrappers, each of which is a creative way to make mealtime simple, fun and nutritious. Put everything out on the table and let them make their own.
Incorporate new vegetables into the foods they already love
Adding one new vegetable to a soup, lasagna or salad is a great way to introduce new tastes without overwhelming your kids. A little kale added to a spinach lasagna, grated broccoli stem tossed in with coleslaw or chopped bok choy tossed in with your salad greens can yield nutritious and delicious results!
Plant a family garden
Not only is it a good way to spend time together, but gardening teaches kids first-hand about clean food that’s minimally processed and has maximum nutrition. From selecting and planting the seeds, to watering, weeding and eventually harvesting, gardens make us invested and connected to our food — and kids are more likely to at least taste the fruits of their labor!
In the end, children will learn much more about healthy eating from what we do than what we say. Model the choices you’d like them to make and keep an abundance of healthy food in your refrigerator and pantry so there are not a lot of unhealthy traps and temptations. Then enjoy sharing your meals and mealtime.
Keep it fun, and always honor their likes and dislikes. Involve your kids in the process so that they’re learning about good nutrition and are empowered to make healthy choices.