How to Make Your Kids Wan’na Eat Veggies

By Cook | Apr 24, 2008

veggies childrenMany parents are interested in changing their family’s eating habits and make them  healthier, but aren’t sure where to begin. Many of them are parents to “fruits and veggies refusers”: ” My kid is too thin and doesn’t like eating healthy foods” - that’s one phrase you could hear more than once…

First - you should be optimistic, but you should know that the earlier you start to introduce healthy eating habits to your child - the higher the chances are in favor of success. According to research conducted lately, babies who suckle for less than 6 months, tend to be pickier with food choices later in life, while babies that suckle for more than 6 months tend to be more open minded about new foods.
Research also shows that young children are more open to new foods between the ages of 2-4, than they are at ages 4-8.

Set a Personal example
It’s very important that parents set a personal example. If parents eat junk food, processed food products and unhealthy snacks, then that’s what their kids would want to eat - there’s no surprise there…
You can almost compare the addictive substances that are found in cigarettes, with the chemicals and sugars that are found in junk food - those are tempting and addictive: if you get used to junk, you won’t enjoy simple and “real” food any more.
For example - a Japanese toddler eats sushi daily. Could you imagine?? All over the world kids eat what the grownups around them eat.

You shouldn’t give up on this subject. If a child is rejecting a certain type of food today, it doesn’t mean he won’t like it later on. The problem lies with the parents, who stop offering that food to the child. According to researches, some times you have to present and offer the new food 5-10 times before the child would even consider trying it.

It shouldn’t all be whole wheat flour
Even though it’s true you should acostume your child to whole wheat foods, between the ages 3-5 the need for nutritional fibers is much less critical (only 15 gr a day), and the child can get those by having fruits and vegetables. What’s important is to lower the exposure to chemicals as much possible. Pesticides and food coloring, and excess fats and sugars could cause allergies and ADHD at children (especially between ages 0-2).

12 tricky healthy tips:

  1. The child won’t get near fruits at all? Make shakes or cakes out of them (for example:  Banana shake).
  2. Instead of sodas, serve natural fruity juices (add more and more water each time - more water means less sugar).
  3. It’s healthier to eat a fruit than to drink fruit juices.
  4. Prepare a “trail mix”: a mix of dried fruits and nuts. Take it with you when you’re going to the park or on trips. You can add healthy cereals to the mix.
  5. Include the kids in the food making process. For example, let the kids chose the fruits in the supermarket while shopping, and make a fruit salad with them when you get back home.
  6. Hide the vegetables: make a veggie puree, put them in your omelet, on your pizza, add them to your lasagne, make a carrot cake, grind them into a pasta sauce…
  7. Kids prefer a fresh grated carrot on a boiled carrot.
  8. Serve fried Chinese style veggies or vegetable sticks with yogurt dip on the side.
  9. Share the experience of growing your own veggies together - you don’t even need a garden, a porch is great for this purpose.
  10. Make eating time a good experience: don’t eat in front of the TV or the computer.
  11. Arrange pieces of veggies creatively on the plate: a shape of a face should do the work.
  12. Buy the kids some cooking books. Even though most of them contain junk food recipes, they teach various cooking methods.

Wishing you the best of luck, and a healthy dinner today! :-)

Nitzan

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6 Comments so far
  1. Drew Kime April 24, 2008 5:39 pm

    People always ask us how we got our kids to eat veggies. All I can say is, we gave it to them. Really, it’s just that simple. Same as eating “exotic” food like Chinese stir-fry. “Oh my goodness, they ate fried rice?” Yup, just like billions of Chinese kids before them. It’s not “exotic” food, it’s just food.

    We don’t make a big deal of it. We don’t say, “You have to eat this before you can have that.” Okay, we don’t let them have the pudding until they’ve eaten *some* of the dinner first.

    Just last night we had hamburgers and green beans. The 5-year-old is the one who asked for the beans. And the 7-year-old asked for seconds *and thirds* of the beans, but didn’t finish the burger. She’ll make up for it by eating most of an 8-ounce steak next time I make that.

    Drew
    http://blog.CookLikeYourGrandmother.com

  2. Cook May 13, 2008 8:51 pm

    You’re right, I think the so called “secret” is making fruits and vegetables as casual as possible, so to say. It’s wonderful to read about your 5 and 7 year old, who are so used to the veggie eating environment, that preferring veggies over other types of food comes naturally for them.
    I wish that I, as an adult, could be like that some times :-)
    Have a great week,
    Nitzan

  3. assia January 11, 2009 2:56 pm

    i am sorry but do not share this comment
    see in our familly i serve veggies and fruits at every meals and for snack and it has been this way since ever
    i have three boys
    my older, 10y old eats anything but sweets he enjoys fats more than sugar and will eat a reasonable amount of “greens”
    my second son, 9 y old, loves vegetables, his favorite meal would be radishes, aspergus, spinash toped with an egg and rasberries for dessert
    my younest one, 5 y old, raised in the same house with the same parents and rules, will not get near anything but pizza, pasta,hot dog, burgers rice or bread and he is already so picky that he will not even try a slice of meat unless it is still juicy from the grill and at perfect temperature (i was not shortening the list above, this is his actual diet)
    i found this forum as i was searching for help on the internet
    i started the “heathy war” with my 5 years old a few days ago knowing that survival instinct will overcome junk food addiction
    i only gave him fruits and veggies for 3 days now with water only for drinks hoping this will help him develop new taste for good choices but it is very hard as a mom to see your kid choose to go to bed hungry and not cave…

  4. Resistor Color Code : October 28, 2010 8:56 am

    i think that we should focus more on healthy eating to avoid diabetes and cardiovascular diseases`.*

  5. Letter Tray %0A November 17, 2010 2:20 am

    healthy eating should be our top priority since there are many junk foods and foods with no nutritional value these days ;”‘

  6. Nonstick Cookware Set %0B January 25, 2011 11:15 am

    ~;~ I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information ‘”*

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