Can I really help you learn how to teach your children to eat their veggies? Well, I’m certainly going to try! After much trial and error, I have developed a list of simple-yet-effective strategies that have worked wonders with my little ones, and I’ll bet at least one of them will work for you, too!
Don’t get me wrong; I have still felt a little green with “mom envy” when a friend’s child gleefully ate all of their veggies while my children whined with despair. Every child has off-days when it comes to eating, and we can’t control that! 🙁 With that said, we can help our little ones to develop a general love of veggies that will make most days much easier!
Teach Your Children to Eat Their Veggies!
- The best advice I ever received from my children’s doctor is to FEED VEGGIES FIRST! If you are still in the baby phase, start with veggie baby foods first -for a least a month- before adding fruits to help them acquire a taste for flavors other than sweet!
- Make veggies fun! Let’s face it: veggies pale in excitement compared to shaped, colored, and carefully-marketed processed foods.
- Come up with fun names for them! Ever since my children were young, I have called leafy greens “bunny food,” because they love watching the wild bunnies in our yard. I’m not saying that this is the only reason my daughter loves “bunny food,” but that initial positive connection put her on the right track for enjoying this health food into toddlerhood!
- Try preparing them a different way! When my son was small, it was hard for him to chew carrots; he liked them, but it took forever for him to eat a significant amount! We tried carrot shreds, and they were a huge success; he loved them! We also made a game out of them by taking turns holding a carrot shred under our noses like a mustache. Then we would say, “I mustache you a question” and ask goofy questions of each other! He would giggle with delight, and every once and a while, he still “mustache me a question.” 🙂 Carrots are one of his favorite foods -like, up there with French fries!
- Be creative with them! We like making fun meals out of healthy foods like our ABC lunch!
- Be realistic! If I were to ask you what your favorite food is, what would you say? Broccoli, spinach, or green beans? While I like all of these foods, they’re not my all-time favorites (I have to admit that chocolate, coffee, cream puffs, and the like would probably land on that list)! I have taught myself to enjoy and crave veggies, and that is what I long to do for my children, too! This process takes time, so being patient and realistic in your expectations make all the difference.
- Find realistic ways to add vegetables in ways that make them “yummier!”
- Melt cheese on your broccoli, then slowly reduce the amount of cheese each time you serve it until they don’t notice it’s gone!
- Put dressing directly on raw veggies so they can’t just eat the dressing!
- Add chopped veggies like spinach or zucchini to spaghetti sauce, etc.
- Eat them yourself! After all, monkey see, money do!
I believe creating positive memories around healthy foods is an investment in my children’s lifelong health; I know I often find myself craving foods that are connected to special memories from childhood! If you’ve been around Celebrating With The Bug, you know we love baking sweet treats too, of course, and life is all about balance and learning to live a healthy lifestyle from the inside out!
Happy veggie eating, friend!
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