Parents have many worries on their minds, and one of the biggest ones is keeping their children healthy. This includes, among other things, providing them with the healthiest food they can get. However, how can you do that when your little ones push away the plate with broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower and other vegetables each time you serve it to them? Also, they happily embrace chocolate, candies and greasy snacks. You are not the first parent dealing with picky eaters, and there are many tried-and-true methods to get your children to eat vegetables and even enjoy them. Here are some of those methods that are surprisingly simple.
Sneak the veggies in a meal they like
We know, this move is kind of sneaky, but you just want to introduce healthier food into your children’s diet, and this can’t happen overnight. Over time, they will be ready to eat their veggies without you masking them, but for now, this is the way to go. For example, if your kids love mac & cheese (like most of them do), you can add veggies like peas, corn or bell peppers to it. Veggies on a pizza are also a good option, and if you want to step up your game, you can make a cauliflower pizza crust. You can even include veggies into a dessert, by preparing zucchini-based brownies.
Mix it all up
Smoothies are an excellent way to provide your kids with all the vitamins and minerals their bodies and minds require in order to develop properly, without them even noticing it. They can have a veggie smoothie for breakfast or as a snack, or you can even give it to them as a dessert. To make it more appealing to them, add some fruit to it. As for the veggies, use healthy but delicious things, like avocado, spinach, cucumber, kale, carrot and pumpkin.
Keep it colourful
One of the biggest aesthetic advantages of vegetables is the richness of their colours. However, if you are not serving fresh veggies, you should know that some cooking methods can deprive them of their natural colour and make them look brownish and unattractive. This also depends on the cookware you are using. Quality cookware, such as Scanpan bamboo steamers can cook veggies to perfection, while allowing them to maintain their fresh and beautiful colours.
Get them involved in cooking
Apart from being the basic life skill every kid should acquire at some point, cooking is very useful because it encourages kids to learn about different tastes and ingredients. Also, it increases the chance they’ll actually eat the dish they’ve helped make. Of course, for toddlers and younger kids, being involved means doing simple tasks such as plucking the herbs and picking out the watermelons, while older kids and teenagers can tackle more challenging chores like peeling the potatoes and making pasta.
Pair it with something less appealing
Researchers at Texas A&M University came to an interesting conclusion when it comes to the patterns in food consumption among school kids – they are more likely to eat veggies on a plate when it is paired with something that is not too tempting to outshine the veggies. So, do your kid a favour and pair broccoli, green beans, spinach or another veggie with a serving that is not very popular with the kids, such as baked potatoes or deli sliders. Definitely avoid dishes like burgers and chicken nuggets.
Work on your serving
Children are visual beings, and if something on their plate looks “yucky” they won’t be too eager to eat it. So, turn their plates into an art piece, by creating a forest out of the most hated veggie (broccoli), an octopus out of bell peppers, a flower out of carrots, etc.
These simple tricks will help you encourage your children to eat vegetables. This way, they will become healthier and form a habit of eating healthy food, which will stay with them throughout their lives.
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