The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 73 percent of Americans are not meeting the recommended number of veggie servings per day. By starting now, you can set the stage early in life for your children so that they will enjoy eating their vegetables into adulthood. Here, we answer parents’ commonly asked questions about food and kids.
Common questions about vegetables & kids
When should parents start to encourage their kids to enjoy eating vegetables?
Infancy through the first few years of a child’s’ life is a crucial time to set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. By being a positive role model and offering a variety of tastes and textures, you can get your baby off to a great start. Don’t limit her only to the standard jarred baby food flavors. Once she’s mastered thick purees, offer her different textures, such as very well steamed tiny broccoli florets or green bean niblets.
What should you do if your child rejects a vegetable?
Be patient and try, try again. Introduce that same vegetable a few weeks later and at the beginning of the meal, when he’s hungriest. Continue this eight to 10 times, which is how long children can take to decide whether they like it or not. If he doesn’t like the food after this period, respect his choice and move on.
If my child doesn’t like vegetables, how should I start introducing them again?
Start by adding vegetables to foods you know your child enjoys. Since kids love chips and crackers, pair them with dips made of vegetables for added nutrition, such as mango or black bean salsa and hummus. Look for chips and crackers with at least two grams of fiber from whole grains per serving and with less than 140 milligrams of sodium.
Try these easy tips, too:
- Instead of regular French fries, try baked sweet potato fries.
- Stir peas and carrots into mac n’ cheese.
- Replace pepperoni on pizza with fresh tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms.
How can I empower my child to make the right food choices?
Because children observe and follow everything parents do, parents can be positive role models through leading by example and involving their children in food decisions.
fun ways to get kids excited about healthy foods:
- Involve them in menu planning.
- Bring your child with you to the grocery store, where she can touch, see, smell and choose vegetables.
- Get your children involved in the kitchen by allowing them to mix the salad and cut the vegetables.
More ways to get kids involved in the kitchen
Cooking with kids: Make pasta
In today’s Daily Dish on SheKnows.com, Shay Pausa is joined by Maria Helm Sinskey and her daughter, Alex, to show us how to make pasta! The Daily Dish with Shay Pausa!