How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables?
It’s a classic problem parents have had to contend with throughout history: how do we get kids to eat healthier?
Studies consistently show kids who eat veggies, fruits, and other healthy nutritious foods have better mental health and performance in school. However, in these times of irresistible fast-food commercials and soda vending machines, the option to consume high-sugar, high-salt, high-fat foods are more available to our children than ever.
Vegetables in particular are a key source of needed vitamins, fiber, and other necessities for a growing child’s body and mind. But many kids are opposed to anything except instant gratification - and that usually means they want something like french fries, candy, or pizza. They may throw fits or just refuse to eat certain foods.
From an evolutionary standpoint, humans are indeed born to prefer sweets and high salt/high-fat foods. This helped us parse out safe meals from dangerous ones, and before modern times we used the extra sugar and fat to survive in nature. Now we have an overabundance of it causing heart problems and obesity which can start at a very young age.
Persistence and patience are vital when encouraging a reluctant child to eat vegetables. Here are a few tips which may help put your kid on a path to nutritious eating habits:
Enjoy veggies: By setting the example of eating and enjoying vegetables, kids will see that and eventually perhaps try to emulate it.
Cook with the kids: Have kids participate in the fun and easy steps of the cooking process. It makes them feel accomplished, and cooking with vegetables will encourage them to eat what they helped make.
Try a variety: There are a ton of different veggies out there, so expose them to a variety. Maybe they won’t like bell peppers, but they’ll be a huge fan of cucumbers!
Disguise it!: Maybe the kids don’t want an uncooked carrot stick or the lettuce in a salad, but you could add some chopped vegetables in things like spaghetti sauce, use veggie snacks mimicking other things your child likes, like veggie strips - or use an air fryer to make them crispy.
Remember to keep trying even if they don’t respond at first, and praise them when they do eat vegetables. Always make it a fun pursuit. This will add a positive connotation to the choice of eating nutritiously.
Bregman Medical Group has decades of experience helping children through various mental health issues as well as general development. We offer online psychiatry and therapy right to your device! Schedule at www.bregmanmd.com or call 305-740-3340.