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5 Ways to Help Kids Eat Their Veggies

April 24, 2014

By Lorena Villa Parkman

A young girl makes a pouty face in front of her salad.

Kids aren't getting enough fruits and veggies. According to research, only 20 to 25 percent of children ages 2 to 5 meet government recommendations for vegetable consumption. As children get older, it just gets worse. Only 10 percent of kids ages 12 to 18 meet those requirements.

Children need to eat balanced meals in order to be healthy and in shape to fulfill their academic and overall goals. But kids always seem to have a hard time eating veggies. Why is that? Is it their color? Shape? Texture? Whatever the reason that’s preventing your child from fulfilling his or her vegetable and fruit requirements, here are a few tips that can help you convince your child that vegetables are tasty:

Be a good role model.
At YOU Parent, we always stress that children model behavior, so remember that you are their role model. Children mimic their parents’ eating habits, so let your child see that you enjoy eating veggies. If you are not doing this yet, try, try and try to love vegetables. If you research vegetable-based recipes, you will find scrumptious options for your family to enjoy.

Serve vegetables when your child is hungry.
Dr. Ann Kulze, author of "Eat Right for Life," suggests serving an appetizer of vegetables, such as carrots and cucumbers with hummus or another low-fat dressing, before dinner. When kids are hungry, they will eat them.

Give them cute names.
Be a marketing specialist for vegetables. You can refer to broccoli as “tasty small trees” or carrots as “X-ray vision carrots.” Help your child have fun naming veggies and learning the special powers he or she will get from them.

Make fruits and vegetables available.
Have a kid-accessible shelf in your fridge with small Ziploc bags of cut fruit and vegetables. Hand them out as snacks and avoid having chips, cookies, or salty treats at home so that only fruit and vegetable options are available for snacking.

Have your child be part of the process.
Picking out fruits and vegetables at the supermarket or farmers' market can help pique a child’s interest in them. If he or she spots a weird-looking vegetable or fruit, offer to buy it so he or she can try it at home. You can also ask your child to help with kitchen chores like washing up greens, stirring things that aren’t hot, like a salad, and pressing buttons on the food processor or other kitchen appliances—supervised, of course.


1 responses to '5 Ways to Help Kids Eat Their Veggies'
The other day I mashed up bananas and peas and my son LOVED it. I don't know how but I guess it's good! He is still in the 'experimenting with food' but so far thankfully he loves fruit and veggies! I think green beans is the only veggie so far he does not care for.

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