Unfortunately for parents, many children are picky eaters when it comes to eating vegetables. This can make dinner time a big battle and quite a stressful experience. It’s important for children to eat a wholesome and balanced diet that includes a variety of vegetables, to make sure that they get the required vitamins and minerals and nutrients to grow strong and healthy. These simple tips will encourage children to consume more vegetables, and in most cases they will be doing so without realizing it.
- Try “hiding” vegetables in the meal. Cut the vegetables into small pieces and hide them under the meat/pasta/rice etc. Help your child to get a spoonful of the meal on their fork whilst distracting them with a story or a book (or even TV if you have to) and they won’t even know what’s hiding underneath.
- Prepare recipes where the vegetables are not visible. An example is to add grated carrot or zucchini or even finely chopped mushrooms or eggplant into spaghetti bolognese or quiche or pastas.
- Hide the vegetables on the plate with ketchup or another favorite sauce.
- Puree a range of vegetables then store portions of the purée in the freezer. You can defrost portions as required and stir the puree through the meal.
- Negotiate with your child. For example if you eat your carrot and your peas, you can have an ice-cream for dessert or you can watch that new movie after dinner.
- Encourage your children to help you prepare the meal. Ask them to stir the vegetables or help serve the meal onto plates. This may increase their “buy in” at the dinner table.
Be aware that children’s tastes are constantly changing. Vegetables that picky eaters might not have liked in the past, might appeal to them now. Keep persisting by encouraging them to re-try new vegetables every few months. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Try to educate your children from an early age about the benefits of eating vegetables so that you can acceptance from them while they are young. It’s important for parents to lead by example by consuming a healthy and wholesome diet themselves that includes ample fresh fruits and vegetables. You might be surprised how much your little ones take in what you are doing and will in turn copy that. Try different tactics to encourage those picky eaters to consume more vegetables in their diet until you find a strategy that works for you.