One way to keep your children healthy and at a lower risk for illness and disease is to encourage healthy eating. Children will eat the foods that taste the best to them. Unfortunately, this often means they reach for cookies and chips. To cut back on bad food choices, one thing parents can do is to limit how many snacks are in the home. Here are four other ways you can make vegetables a staple in your house.
Let them see you eat more veggies
Kids want to be like their parents. They listen and watch carefully. Then, they imitate their parents. If they see you eating cauliflower, greens, or peas, then they will want to eat the same things you do. This does not mean your child will like everything you do, but at least they see you eating healthy. When they have a choice, they may reach for a better snack.
Families that eat meals together allow time for talking about healthy food choices. Children can talk about what they do not like about certain vegetables to give you the chance to alleviate concerns. Maybe the texture is a problem, or you can find ways to mask the taste of something kids dislike. Spices, cheese sauce, Parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar are some options for changing the flavor of vegetables.
Take them to a new restaurant
Kids often like going out to eat. It feels like a treat to them. By taking them someplace new, like a Chinese restaurant or Mediterranean place, they feel like they are getting something special. You can order dishes that incorporate vegetables in a sauce they might like to make it more appealing. You can also offer to get them a healthy dessert if they eat their vegetables. Asian restaurants especially often have much more vegetables mixed in with foods children enjoy, so taking your children out to eat at restaurants with Asian cuisine can help them expand their palate.
Besides food rewards, you can start a chart where you put a star for every day the kids eat their veggies. At the end of the week, you can let them pick out a movie or place to go as a family. You can make the trip more successful by packing fruit and vegetable snacks. You can take along peanut butter, low-fat ranch dressing, or Dijon mustard to give them something to make the food more appealing.
Getting kids to eat what is healthy takes a creative approach. Not every method works for all children. Sometimes, it takes a little guessing to figure out how to make vegetables popular. Often, parents have to hide the veggies in other foods. For example, making a chocolate zucchini cake or spaghetti squash instead of pasta may be a good idea for super picky eaters.