3 Ways to Get Your Kids to Enjoy Vegetables!
As a mom, i understand the struggles faced to get your kids to enjoy and eat veggies. My daughter is a carnivore just like her dad and prefers meat and seafood. I have set aside mandatory 3 veggie days in a week which are usually met with groans and complains.
Initially i tried desperate attempts to feed her veggies by pureeing or grating them finely and mixing them up in sauces or curries. But i realized its not encouraging healthy habits or helping her to enjoy vegetables.
Instead of putting up with fights at meal times, i came up with the following ways to introduce vegetables to her. My efforts are beginning to pay off. She has started opening up to new taste and at least trying the food before making an opinion about it. This, I believe, is a huge step forward.
|Daughter chopping onions to make sweet potato latkes for breakfast|
1. Encourage them to cookMy daughter was always eager to help me bake cupcakes and cookies but didn't care much about savory foods. Once we happened to watch an episode of junior Master chef series and she got really hooked on to it. She started participating in grocery shopping, deciding on meals and wanted to help make them too. Of course I had to overcome my fears of letting her handle a real knife and come close to the stove. With adequate supervision and her own interest she's a pro in the kitchen now. She can handle knives, graters, peelers with ease and caution. Salads have become her forte and she loves eating them as much as making them.
If your children are younger, they can still help you in the kitchen with deciding meal options, washing vegetables, slicing with plastic knives, measuring ingredients. Gifting them a nice apron also excites them enough to try cooking.
2. Make healthier and vegetarian options of fast food at homeOn my husband's suggestion, we converted our boring veggie days into exciting homemade fast food days. This has now became a fun food adventure we all look forward to. We have also reinvented some of the classics into vegetarian options. We make gluten free, egg free, corn free, healthy versions of Indian snacks like bhel, chaats, samosa, pav bhaji(mashed vegetables), vegetable fritters/pakodas or American favorites like cottage cheese nuggets, sweet potato fries, vegetarian chili, pastas, vegetarian burgers, tacos, kidney bean burritos, mashed potatoes, pizzas or even Chinese veggie noodles and spring rolls.
3. Introduce vegetables in different waysEach vegetable can be converted into so many delightful recipes. Keep introducing them to your child in as many ways as possible. Encourage them to at least taste it without prejudice. There have been many fights at dinner time when i daughter refused to eat, on seeing a vegetable on her plate. I made a deal with her that she needs to at least taste the vegetable and if she doesn't like it, she can remove it off her plate. And quite often she has enjoyed it enough to ask for seconds.
SummaryEncouraging kids to eat vegetables is more about beating their mindset. Get them involved in the whole process. Let them help making the grocery list, feel and choose vegetables at the store, unpack and load the refrigerator. Let them participate in deciding the meals and making them.
Presenting food in an aesthetic manner helps greatly. We all eat with our eyes first. My daughter loves it when I plate her food in restaurant or fun style. Make it a fun experience and they will look forward to it.
Eating vegetables is a foundation of healthy life. Teach them to enjoy wholesome food and they will grow into healthy adults with wise food choices.