As a parent, it’s always tough to deal with a picky eater, and getting your kids to eat vegetables can be a real challenge that turns mealtimes from a fun way to start the day as a family to a tedious chore that tests the limits of your patience.
So how do you get your kids to like vegetables? Here are a few simple tips to have them start munching on their daily recommended intake of leafy greens:
1. Stick to their schedule.
Kids need to eat a lot, and their typical daily diet consists of three meals, two snacks, and a lot of fluids (i.e. water or sometimes fruit juices). Though you might think that preparing meals for them can be tedious at first, they’re actually pretty easy to plan around.
Having a balanced diet means that your children will be less hungry, and therefore less cranky.
2. Plan your meals.
Instead of making separate meals to cater to your kids, prepare just one meal for everyone in the family. Because children will often imitate their parents’ behavior, if they see you eat vegetables, they’ll be more inclined to try the leafy greens themselves.
3. Introduce slowly.
You don’t have to break out the broccoli and bok choi all at once. You shouldn’t force or bribe your children to eat them, either. Because their taste buds are sensitive to bitter tastes and aren’t as well developed as the adult palate, start them up with potatoes and carrots first.
Easing them into liking vegetables includes a trying out a variety of ways, from adding vegetables to frittatas to scrambled eggs, to even smoothies.
When introducing vegetables to your kids, be creative. The reason why they will tend to go for chicken or meat instead of vegetables is because they have more flavor, and vegetables are naturally bland. You can make their meals flavorful, for example, by adding seasoning to stir-fried vegetables.
4. Let your kids help out in cooking.
They might be more inclined to try out vegetables if you let them help you cook. You can also ask them what kind of vegetables they would like to have. Cooking for mealtimes can even be a bonding experience with your kids.
5. Be patient.
Your kids won’t love vegetables overnight – it’s a process that takes time, effort, and consistency. The same goes for you as well. As a parent, you’re completely responsible for planning their meals, and they will follow what you do. Eventually, they’ll warm up to the leafy greens.