How to Get Your Child to Eat Vegetables - Parents, These are Just the Tips You Need!

How to Make Kids Eat Vegetables – Tips for Parents

You give your kiddo a bowl of broccoli or carrots to munch, and your kid may take forever to finish it. Does this sound like it is a story of your household? If it is, you’re likely not alone. This is a struggle most moms experience in their day-to-day lives. Why is there an aversion towards vegetables in some kids, and what can you do to make your kid eat his greens? If you have these questions on your mind, too, we may be able to help you overcome this constant struggle to feed veggies to your child.

Video: How to Make Kids Eat Vegetables

Why Is It Important for Children to Eat Vegetables?

With so many options available in the market for junk foods, children seldom pay attention when it comes to eating a nutritious meal that contains vegetables. There is no substitute for vegetables, and thus, no matter how much your child despises them, you may have to find ways and means to feed them to your kid. This is because vegetables are high in essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and antioxidants, which are of utmost importance for the proper functioning of various vital organs. Eating veggies will also protect your kid against many dangerous health ailments. A well-balanced and healthy diet should include a wide array of vegetables apart from other things, which means your child should eat various kinds and colours of vegetables to attain maximum nutritional benefits. On average, your child (up to eight years of age) may require up to 2 to 4 servings of vegetables in a day.

Why Some Children Don’t Like to Eat Vegetables

You may think your kid may be the only one making faces at the sight of vegetables. You’ll be surprised to know that it is very common for children to dislike vegetables while growing up. Read on to understand why your kid dislikes eating vegetables:

  • Your child may cringe while eating Brussels sprouts or other such vegetables because of their peculiar or bitter taste. The presence of calcium and phytonutrients in most vegetables makes them bitter and thus unpalatable for children.
  • Disliking vegetables may mostly be seen in kids in the age bracket of 2 to 6 years of age. This is because they may develop food neophobia or fear of unknown or new food. This is usually a behavioural problem that some kids of this age experience.
  • Also, whenever we eat something for the first time, we may not like it. The story could be completely opposite after developing a taste for the same foods. The same applies to kids, who may start liking their vegetables as they grow. It may take 10 to 15 efforts on average to finally make your child accept the taste of a particular vegetable.

How to Get Your Child to Eat Vegetables

Here are some tips that may help you make your kid polish off veggies from their plate:

1. Lead By Example

As clichéd as it may sound, it sure does work! If you eat vegetables in front of your children, they will do that, too. Kids like to imitate their parents and siblings, and that is why it is best to lead them by example.

2. Give Them Time

Do not expect your kid to eat any vegetable you offer them for the first time. As discussed above, kids may take time to familiarise themselves with different foods, and once they are comfortable with the taste, they may begin eating veggies. So, do not rush. Instead, take things slowly and introduce them to different vegetables one by one rather than bulking up on them.

3. Avoid Creating a Hullabaloo

When it comes to feeding vegetables, do not make it appear as if it is something grand. Make it a regular eating experience. Also, do not threaten or bribe your child to make them finish their vegetables; otherwise, finishing up vegetables on the plate will become a task for them which they will develop a liking for later.

4. Add a Touch of Beauty

Whatever appeals to the eye can appeal to the palate, too. Introduce vegetables to your child in a fun and appealing manner to grab their attention. For instance, carve a flower out of a carrot or make a mouse from a cucumber and watch your kiddo divulge into their meal.

Goat made from veggies

5. Give Options

This trick works for sure. Whenever you cook vegetables, try and cook two or more options for your kiddo to choose from. This can give your kid the feeling of independence, and he will feel free to choose.

6. Use Peer Pressure

Well, peer pressure may not only work in the field of academics, but it may also be helpful in making your kiddo eat veggies. Invite friends over for dinner (who like to eat vegetables) and just see how, in order to impress their friends or to gain brownie points in front of you, your kid will finish all their veggies.

7. Spice It Up

Kids love to experiment with various tastes and flavours. Add some zing to boring vegetable meals with some dressing, seasonings, or dips.

8. Let Them Pick Vegetables

Take your little one to the grocery shopping with you and let them pick vegetables. Nicely arranged fresh vegetables are a visual delight and can lure your kid into eating them too, as it will remind them of their little shopping activity.

9. Let Them Cook

Cooking can excite young children, and if you involve them in safe cooking, they may be tempted to try out their piece of work. The entire cooking and eating experience may become one fun activity for your kid.

10. Praise Your Kid

If your kid makes an effort and tries to eat a particular vegetable, make sure you appreciate their efforts. Words of appreciation will boost confidence in your child, and they will be trying out different vegetables in no time!

11. Experiment With Vegetables

If your kid does not like stir-fried carrots, you may feed him carrots in the form of soup. You can change the form of other vegetables in a similar manner. Sometimes, the texture of a particular vegetable makes children refuse them. Try out different textures to know what your kid likes the most.

Siblings eating veggies together

What Parents Should Avoid Doing While Making Their Kids Eat the Veggies

Here are a few things you can avoid to make your kid eat their vegetables:

1. Do Not Force Feed

You can be insistent, but you should not force feed. Any kind of force-feeding can have a negative impact on your child, and they may completely refuse to eat their veggies. Let your kid adjust to the new taste, and they may eventually start liking the vegetable.

2. Do Not Give Anything Outside Meals

Refrain from offering anything else in between the meals because hunger pangs can make your kid relish the veggies.

3. Do Not Prepare Special Meals

Offer your kid what everyone else will be eating. This way, you may be snubbing the habit of picky eating.

4. Do Not Label Your Kid

Refrain from giving any label, tags or names, such as fussy-eater, picky-eater, etc., to your kid. This can give them a reason to stay away from vegetables.

5. Do Not Bribe

Bribing by giving them a candy stick or letting them play a video game may solve the problem in the short run, but it may lead to a negative association towards food in the longer run.

6. Do Not Sneak the Vegetables in Food

You may win a small war by doing this, but not the big bigger battle of helping your kid develop a healthy habit of eating vegetables.

7. Do Not Starve Them

If your little one is taking time to get adjusted to vegetables, it is totally okay! You have to remember that every child has their own pace, so do not rush. If they are not eating their vegetables, give them another healthy alternative, like porridge, to meet their nutrition, instead of being strict and not giving them anything. Starving your child will only affect their health and emotional balance.

We hope this post helps you overcome your vegetable-feeding woes. Remember that your kid will take their own sweet time to get used to the taste of different vegetables. All they need from you is a little bit of patience, and they will be exploring the world of vegetables in the course of time.

Also Read: Ways To Develop Healthy Eating Habits in Children

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