Tips To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables
How To Get Picky Eaters to Try New Foods
Tips For Parents To Help Convince Kids To Eat Veggies
It’s no secret in our house that my adult husband hates it when his vegetables or fruit, “Touch Each Other.” Until I learned his secret he suffered silently.
Here are a few fun ways to introduce your child (or older child) without pushing them, to trying new vegetables and fruits.
5 ways to keep their food on their plate:
1 – Most kids beyond two years old want independence. From 2 years old and up are the best ages to get them interested in growing their own garden (veggies). For instance, the fact that it is new and adventurous to them may mean the difference between eating a cherry tomato and leaving it on their plate. If they are involved they are naturally more interested, especially if they are given a chance to pick their own garden seeds and explore a Farmers Market to see different vegetable and fruit varieties.
If space is an issue there is always container gardening and for that you’ll only need a sunny porch or window plus these 4 things:
- Assorted garden containers or small patch of soil
- Fresh soil to fill containers
- Shovel, Watering Can, Gloves (it’s more fun to learn with your own garden tools)
- Seeds, basket stuffer flowers, herbs, or veggies (Bulbs or pre-planted veggies-Ask kids what they want to grow)
Let them know it can be a bit messy too – Some kids love dirt and others not so much. Get kids who don’t want or like to get dirty a gardening apron, or a big shirt from the closet that’s going to be donated works too.
Start them out by helping them choose things with a high success rate, a short growing season, and that require minimal care – Peas, beans, radishes, lettuce, sunflowers, and herbs like chives or rosemary are all good choices – Be careful with letting kids grow spicy herbs in case they decide to ‘sample’ anything they have grown before you get home (This tip is learned from, ‘experience,’ and made for a good story much later).
Keep in mind where you are growing your seeds, because sun and shade requirements for plants will matter.
Let them plant a container of flowers for color-Grow your own or transplant these into your home container from your local garden store.
Offer kids ongoing praise for their work. Give them encouragement and help them understand that it’s their care that makes the plant grow and thrive – Many of life’s lessons can be learned from growing garden plants.
2 – Be a role model who leads by example. Sometimes kids are picky eaters because you are. Eat your vegetables and be open to trying new ones in front of them and wear your happy face – The pressure to please you and mimic you may overcome their resistance.
3 – Find the best Farmers Market in your locality that you can – Many farmers markets cater to kids with brightly colored tents and displays and special booths for things like kids crafts and face painting – Take kids to that one. The party-like atmosphere is a great way to get kids excited.
4 – Ask experts in the field for advice and tips on growing-Make a day of it with kids. You can find these people most anywhere on the internet or ask people you know for local farming referrals.
5 – There is nothing scary about vegetables when kids understand them better – Teach them that varieties exist in most things (Peppers, for example come in red, green, yellow, orange. Tomatoes are also colorful).
Hint: If growing a garden is simply out of your reach you can accomplish similar results with picky eaters by going to a U-Pick farm, or signing up for a community garden space near your home. With a community garden you have the bonus of raised beds, easy watering options, and seasoned soil.
If you still can’t get them to stop hating it when their vegetables, “touch each other,” on their plates, then you can always get a divided meal tray for them to eat on. Or you could simply tell them to, “suck it up buttercup,” but that never worked in our house.
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