If you’re having trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies, check out our tips to convince them to start eating the good stuff!
1 – Smaller Portions
Put half a plate of mac and cheese in front of a kid, with only a couple leaves of spinach on the side, and that spinach will sit there until the end of time. Put half the portion of mac and cheese on the plate and double the amount of spinach, and suddenly the child has the appetite for spinach. When kids run out of one satisfying food, they’d prefer to feel full on vegetables than go hungry.
So give them less — unhealthy food, that is. Give them all the vegetables you want.
2 – Don’t Explain Anything
It’s tempting to sell vegetables as healthy. But kids are invincible, so vitality is irrelevant. They care about taste and not being hungry. A study released last year found the easiest way to get kids to eat their vegetables is simply not to explain they’re vegetables. Don’t mention they’re “good for you” or “nutritious.”
3 – The ‘One Bite’ Rule
Developing a habit begins with the first try. Tell kids to give you “just one bite.” While the first sensation may be less than pleasant, reinforcing the habit each time dinner rolls around engrains the vegetable as a staple. Use the one bite rule as an easy point of entry. But be firm, researchers say. Each bite is critical for staying consistent, so make sure the child knows the deal is non-negotiable.
4 – Peer Pressure Them
If you, the parent, can’t get your kids to eat vegetables by modelling the behaviour, maybe your kids’ friends can. Find a family friend who’s already gotten his or her child on-board with leafy greens and hearty produce and have the child over for dinner one night. The sooner a child sees a friend doing something, the more worthwhile the behaviour becomes.
5 – Who wants fruit salad?
So sneaky it just might work. Make a delicious fruit salad and add some veggies to it. Cut up all the fruit and veg into roughly the same size and don’t be afraid to happily admit a vegetable is in there if they ask.