My niece turned two last weekend and we held a little party for her and her little friends. In attendance were about 15 little people between the ages of 2 – 10 and what shocked me when it was time to feed them was that out of the 15 only one little person had salad on her plate and only because her mother coaxed her into having some. They had no problems eating the fruits that were on the menu but the veggies were a different story but I guess because fruits are sweet it was easier to get them eating that than the salads on display. I always say I would like to be the mother one day whose kids pick an apple over a chocolate bar when given a choice. I am an aunty several times over and have helped raise my nephews and nieces so I understand the challenges most parents and more so mothers face with picky eaters. Spinach by the way is my favourite leafy green and do you know why? It’s all thanks to POPEYE!!! Yes Popeye the sailor man got me eating spinach from way back when I was a little person I remember being amazed at how his muscles would swell after he ate spinach and how strong he became hahaha good memories. I was a cartoon buff still am. Anyway here are some tips to get the little ones eating their veggies most by experience and some gotten from all over the internet;
· Use cartoon characters that eat veggies to encourage them to eat their vegetables hey it worked for me it may work for other kids too.
· Depending on their age involve them in preparation of the vegetables whether it is to help pick if you have a little garden, pick out from the grocery section at the store, wash, peel, chop and even help cook under supervision of course.
· Make veggie shopping fun by letting them name the vegetables they can recognize while shopping sort of like a veggie edition of I spy with my little eye game.
· Make the plate interesting do not just have boring old green leafy veggies add some colour to their plate using colourful veggies like carrots, beetroot, radishes, red cabbage, red/yellow bell peppers and the likes.
· You can also chop the veggies into different shapes to make them more interesting and use this as a learning opportunity by introducing them to shapes and lengths formed by the cut up veggies.
· Kids are very visual and presentation is everything do not just lump the veggies on the plate serve them out in an appealing way even if it means making an interesting design on the plate using the veggies.
· If they have an adult they look up to or admire use that person as an example. Using sentences like “XYZ is big/strong/clever etc because they always ate their vegetables growing up. Ask the said adult to assist with this beforehand because trust me the child will ask them if it is true they are big/strong/clever etc because they ate vegetables growing up.
· Depending on their age simplify and discuss health benefits of different veggies so they can see how important it is to eat them. For example you can tell them how vegetable ABC has important vitamins that make sure they don’t get sick because if they get sick they can’t go out and play with their friends so in order not to get sick and be able to play with their friends they need to eat said veggie.
· If you have a veggie and fruit farm close by that allows visits take them on a field trip to see how various plants are grown, harvested and stored so they can know where their veggies comes from. Fruit and veggie picking trips with kids if you are ever able to go on one are so much fun, highly recommended.
· Lead by example. It starts with you if you are not eating your veggies your kids will not eat their veggies. So you have to be a role model by not only eating your veggies but making sure they see you eat and enjoy the veggies, that is the number one way to get them on the veggie train.
How do your get your kids/nieces/nephews eating healthy?
Healthy You, Healthy Kids, Healthy Hair!