There’s a real satisfaction, as a parent, in getting your kids to eat vegetables. Some children have a natural affection for produce. Others, not so much.
A study done in France several years ago revealed that, when children were gradually made more familiar with vegetables they didn’t initially enjoy, they eventually liked them. It’s easy to give up and simply feed your fussy kids what they love most – which in many cases isn’t what’s nutritionally best.
Here are a few tricks and tips to help your little ones learn to love their fruits and vegetables:
Create a nibble tray: Use a muffin tin and fill it with a variety of raw fruits and veggies. This will allow your toddler to discover a variety of healthy foods at their own pace, using their hands, in a container that should peak their interest.
Dip it: It’s a fun, messy way to introduce your little ones to some fresh foods. Try using Greek yogurt (plain or sweet), peanut butter, cream cheese or pureed fruit for your dipping options.
Lead by example: Sit with your child and eat an identical plate of food. You’ll be surprised how quickly they adapt their eating habits to yours.
Make it fun: Build faces in mashed potatoes with peas and carrots. Call broccoli and cheese sauce “trees with cheese.” Also, try serving in unexpected dishes like measuring cups or ice cream cones.
Understand their senses: The wrong color, texture or smell can turn kids off of certain foods. Avoid items with strong smells, drab colors and exceedingly soft textures. Try serving unfamiliar vegetables either raw or cooked crisp.
Get creative: Try mixing new vegetables in with some of your child’s favorite dishes. Add steamed cauliflower to mac and cheese or slip some veggies into their cheese pizza.