It’s no secret that kids are stubborn. Getting them to do things they don’t want to is no easy feat. How many times did you have to ask your child to clean his or her room before it actually got done? For most parents, dinnertime is a battle day after day, no matter what vegetable is being served that evening. While it may seem downright impossible to get your child to eat fruits and vegetables, with a little patience and a lot of persistence, you may even get him or her to enjoy them.
“You should be eating your fruits and veggies too.”
You eat them too
It won’t come as a surprise that you should also be eating your fruits and veggies. You’re the biggest role model in your children’s lives, so if they see you snacking on a banana, they’ll probably ask for one too. The same goes for dinnertime. If you serve yourself up a big plate of green beans, offer them to your kids as well. This simple method probably won’t get your children to love their greens if they hated them prior, but it’s a good starting point.
Let your kids help
If you frequent the weekend farmer’s market, bring the kids along and let them pick out whatever produce they want. While this isn’t exactly as exciting as letting them go to town in a candy store, kids love being involved in decisions. Who knows? Maybe your child will pick out a weird-looking root vegetable you’ve never tried before and it’ll become a family favorite.
“Just one bite”
Telling your child that he or she needs to “clear the plate” usually ends up backfiring with the child sitting at the dinner table well past dessert, too stubborn to finish. Every time you serve veggies with dinner, ask your kid to just take one bite and tell you what he or she thinks about it. At first, his or her reviews will probably consist of, “it’s yucky” or “I hate it,” but after a while, he or she will get used to the flavor and possibly even like it.
“Tell your kids that vegetables will help them get stronger.”
Tell them why
Simply saying, “because I said so” isn’t going to garner a good reaction when your kids ask why they have to eat the carrots on their plates. However, saying, “carrots will make you stronger” probably will. Kids don’t understand very much about health or nutrients, so these reasons will rarely make any difference. But catering to what interests your children, like being stronger or faster, may get him or her to give fruits and veggies a chance.
Make them tastier
While butter, sauces and dips may take away from a vegetable’s nutrients, modifying veggies to make them more appealing to your children isn’t a bad idea. Letting your child dip cucumbers in ranch dressing or peppers in hummus covers the initial flavor of the food, which is what your kids usually reject. Masking the flavor doesn’t just work on veggies, either. If you have a child who regularly turns down fruits, try pairing peanut butter with apples or yogurt with berries.
Make these foods regular snacks
Keep a container of washed berries ready to eat in the refrigerator. If your child complains about being hungry, tell him or her you’ll get some carrot sticks and dip ready. Rather than acknowledging that your child doesn’t like these foods and feeding him or her alternatives, make regular snack foods healthy. Tell your child that there isn’t any candy in the house, but he or she can dip an apple into some caramel.