Struggling to get your kids to eat their vegetables or anything other than pizza? Read what an expert has to tell parents, on how to change this scenario.
Whenever I hear such a refrain from parents, I tell them that the time for introspection has arrived. I ask them to first examine their own eating habits. Once they have done so, they almost always know why their child does not eat veggies.
I typically ask these parents questions such as, “Do you eat your veggies like you are enjoying them? Do you munch on veggie sticks when you are hungry?”
If the answer happens to be no, here is what I say: “You are responsible for your child’s rejection of veggies.”
Here are some tips on how to turn the situation around:
#1 The truth is- if you love veggies, the chances of your kids loving them grows exponentially. If you want your kids to eat their greens, you should begin by eating all kinds of veggies yourself.
#2 As the next step, make an effort to get your child involved in the processes of buying, cooking and serving such foods. Very soon, you will watch them have fun while doing this.
#3 No adult, let alone a child, will eat veggies if they have to wash it, peel it and then eat it! Make it a routine to stock some seasonal veggies in the refrigerator that are easily accessible and ready to eat.
When the kids are hungry, offer this as the first choice. Alternately, it should be placed strategically so that it is most visible when the refrigerator is opened.
#4 Give trendy and unusual names to vegetable preparations.
Helping your child make associations to veggies with their favourite characters or stories works very well up to a certain age.
Carrots and tomatoes served as curls, beetroot as little magic wands, okra as little stars in the sky- all of this generates enthusiasm.
#5 Don’t overcook your veggies.
I love the Indian style of cooking but don’t understand why we tend to overcook our veggies. Brightly colored veggies are appealing and invite interest. Overcooking robs them of their natural colour, destroys nutrients and turns them into a mushy and unappealing texture.
How can we expect children to love such foods!
#6 Avoid monotony
Another trap in this business of eating veggies is monotony. Every household has some standard ways of preparing veggies. The monotony of these preparations usually takes a toll.
The way out of this is to try different accompanying ingredients, or to cook the veggies using a different process to lend them a different texture and look. Make cauliflower with sesame seeds, instead of the usual aloo gobi.
Yet another sure shot way of improving the acceptability of veggies is to introduce it to your child’s diet in a peer setting. When other children display an interest in it, you will notice how it works positively.