The dry heaving sounds, plate pushing, pouting, crossing of arms and a look of absolute disdain are common side effects of asking your kids to eat their veggies. Vegetables are an essential part of a balanced diet as they are rich sources of fibre, vitamins, and minerals and are easy to digest. They are also low in fats, sugars and complex carbohydrates. Vegetables, raw and cooked, can also replace the unhealthy snack choices like chips, cookies and sweets in your child’s diet.
Here are a few ways to make vegetables interesting
- Capture the imagination of your child by cutting veggies into shapes, smileys or arranging vegetables into objects that your child loves. This will make it interesting and you can add a story to the plate to make it more interesting.
- Shop with your kids. Let them pick out the vegetables with you. This will get them invested in the process and eating the vegetables would be the perceived reward. Moreover, when you pick the vegetables based on their preference, they are more likely to partake.
- Have family meals together. Watching you eat your vegetables will drive the child to mimic you or even get a feeling of not being the only one who has to eat them. This might increase the chances of them eating their vegetables as well.
- Involve them in the kitchen. Take their help to peel, season or wash the vegetables. Make it a collective effort to prepare the veggies. This way eating the vegetables would be the payoff to their work.
- Keep at it. Children can be very adamant or might need a lot of persuasion. Try different techniques but make a constant effort. They might refuse 25 times, but they will accept the 26th time!
- Try eating vegetables raw or in a different preparation style. Some people liked cooked veggies, others like them raw, some might like it grilled while some others might like it sautéed. Experiment different preparations to see what your child likes!
- Make vegetables interesting. Pair vegetables with different dips, sauces or creams. Pickled carrot sticks and mayonnaise are a match made in heaven. Mix and match! Another neat trick is to add vegetables as a side dish with a meal they like.
- Hide the vegetables in day to day meals. Use bell peppers in pasta, broccoli in paranthas or fruits with ice cream! Sneak in vegetables into your favourite soup recipes to help increase their intake.
The thing to remember is that inculcating these good habits young will help your children throughout life by promoting the importance of healthy eating and a balanced diet. We hope these tips help you to deal with picky eaters. Happy eating!