I think we all know that children need to eat more vegetables and less processed food but for some reason, maybe because we are exhausted and don’t want a fight, we let them get by with eating whatever they want.
Try sharing a new, positive outlook on vegetables. If they see you enjoying them, it’s easier to encourage them to do the same.
Enjoyment of food is important so don’t treat vegetables and healthy food as a punishment.
Do not make the mistake of all of a sudden becoming Militant Vegetable Mom at a restaurant because they will freak out, throw a fit and you’ll give up. Do it in the safety of your own home where you can hide in the bathroom and text your friends for support.
When you’re first introducing vegetables, try them without any sauce so they can really taste what the vegetable is meant to taste like. Then, if they don’t like it plain, show them ways to make it taste better. Add some sea salt or some pastured butter. Now how does it taste?
What is my reply when they say they hate it? I have a few answers, depending on my mood:
“Thanks for letting me know.”
“You still have to eat it.”
“Sometimes we have to eat things we don’t like.”
“I don’t really care.”
If they say “Yuck!” I counter with “Don’t yuck my yum!”
If they refuse to eat anything on their plate in protest I tell them “That’s ok! You’ll survive” and then ask them to leave the table.
I buy a small amount the first time and then once I know they like it, I’ll buy more the next time.
It can take a few (or even ten) attempts to accept a new vegetable so try using different cooking methods (blanch, steam, grill, fry, bake, sauté, etc.). Put it on a pizza, cut in smaller pieces. Puree it and add it in a sauce. Add it to a dessert like Spinach Brownies where you don’t even taste the spinach.
Take your kids to the Farmer’s Market. Hand them a shopping bag and let them pick out something new to try. Let them have that bag of Kettle Corn if they agree to try a new vegetable. Ask the people at the Farmer’s Market the best way to prepare it or Google new recipes to try. Bring your kids into the kitchen with you!
Speak positively about green & healthy food instead of cringing or sticking out your tongue so they don’t automatically equate green with yuck (hello parents, I’m speaking to you).
The less processed food they eat, the more they will enjoy the taste of real food and yes they will even enjoy vegetables.
Image a well traveled woman