Tips On How Parents Can Help Their Kids Enjoy Vegetables

Tips On How Parents Can Help Their Kids Enjoy Vegetables

Tips On How Parents Can Help Their Kids Enjoy Vegetables

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While you may not need a study to tell you that kids who eat vegetables have a higher academic performance, you might wonder why are so many of the children in the U.S. going days without eating them? Science tells us it’s because kids have a heightened sense of taste and smell, so they’re more apt to detect bitterness — and you can only imagine why the magnified smell of cooked broccoli isn’t helping matters. 

Another more obvious reason for having an aversion to this healthy staple is that eating veggies is not linked to enjoyment. Youngsters value taste and satisfaction over health. To make matters worse, the more you nag at them to chow down on their plate of green beans, the more likely they are to dread vegetables. When they do end up consuming them, an overabundance of praise can actually have a reverse effect because you’re reinforcing the fact that they have to be forced to eat vegetables instead of enjoying them naturally. 

While this may feel like an uphill battle, there are ways to get your kids to appreciate veggies and actually enjoy eating them. Here’s how.  

Head To The Farm 

Take a field trip to The Farm at Eastman’s Corner to help kids garner a greater appreciation for eating farm-to-table — not grocery store-to-table. Let them poke around and choose veggies that interest them from the farm stand while educating them on the names and nutritional benefits. Be sure to explain those benefits in terms they can identify with. For example, “the calcium in these greens will help you build strong bones so you can perform well on the soccer field.” Encourage your kids to practice their social skills by asking farmers questions about growing and cooking before visiting the goats, chickens, and pigs.

Adopt The French Technique 

French children are known for not being picky eaters and eating everything — to include vegetables. Why? Less snacking on junk food makes them look forward to eating a complete meal. French parents also believe in nutritional education at an early age and avoid treating food as a reward or a way to comfort emotions. Ways you can try to adopt this ideology include starting early, being mindful of what your kids are eating in between meals (snacks should be small if eliminating them all together is difficult), and being persistent, yet flexible about what vegetables your kids choose to chow. 

Plant A Home Garden 

Growing your own vegetables and involving your kids in the process is a great way for them to appreciate the effort that goes into the entire process — from seed to stem. While you need to grow what’s going to work within the environment in where you live, speak to your kids about what those options are so they can have a say. Let them get their hands dirty (or use a pair of gardening gloves if your child enjoys staying clean) and assist with the planting and caretaking processes. 

When veggies are ready for consumption, plan a meal together that incorporates your collaborative efforts, but make it fun. Show them how you can infuse veggies in favorite dishes including pasta and tacos and not just as a steamed (and to kids, boring) side dish. Creative (not sneaky) cooking techniques can help them develop a positive relationship with vegetables. 

Getting your kids to eat veggies is only going to work if you’re setting the right example, too. Don’t overemphasize how much you love them, rather, make them a part of regular meals. Remember that their taste buds are likely to change over time (just like yours), so exercise patience. 

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