5 Smart Ways to Encourage Your Child to Eat Their Fruits and Veggies
You’ve heard since childhood that you must eat your fruits and veggies. They provide valuable nutrients that contribute to overall growth and development—and they are good for your teeth! Apples, for example, are nature’s toothbrush and can clean your teeth until you have time to brush and floss.
Unfortunately, not all fruits and veggies are as tasty as apples. If your child is a fussy eater, you may be looking for tips for picky eaters and wondering how to get your child to eat veggies. With repeated exposure and varied preparation, your child may eventually come around. Until then, you’ll have to be clever when providing these essential foods.
The Division of Responsibility
You and your child both play a role in your child’s diet. As a parent, you set boundaries by establishing meal times and preparing food. However, you also allow your child to learn to trust their hunger and fullness cues.
Discuss any food being served and what it might taste like, but don’t pressure your child into taking a specific number of bites. Like you, your children will have natural likes and dislikes, but you must model eating behaviors that you would like to see in your child, such as eating fruits and veggies!
How to Get My Child to Eat Veggies
You want your child to learn how to eat a balanced diet. But when they are picky eaters, tips are appreciated! Parents who want to know how to get their child to eat veggies can try 5 clever ways to encourage this habit.
1. Continuous exposure can encourage your child to try new foods.
When introducing new fruits or vegetables to your child, start with smaller portions. One or two bites of a flavorful food will keep them from becoming put off or overwhelmed.
It’s easy to get discouraged when your child refuses healthy foods. But continue offering that same fruit or vegetable, and, eventually, they may try it.
Consider how you are preparing the food, too. You can hide veggies in muffins or smoothies, but that won’t make your child any more likely to try freshly prepared vegetables.
Appearance and temperature will affect whether your child will enjoy specific vegetables. Some children like veggies shaped like coins instead of strips. Others like cold veggies but not hot ones.
2. Get your kid involved in preparing the foods.
Bringing your kids to the grocery store will expose them to the produce section’s wide variety of fruits and vegetables. You can ask them to find the cucumbers or choose the apple they want from the pile. Talk about what the fruit or vegetable is called and ask them to describe how it tastes if they’ve had it before.
Being in the kitchen helps kids learn numerous life skills, whether they help you prepare the meal or just watch. Asking your child how they’d like their fruit or veggies prepared will help them enjoy eating during dinner or snack time.
As your child gets older, you can increase their participation and responsibilities. Continuous involvement helps them learn about fresh produce and gives them a say in the ingredients and preparations. And feeling included can increase the chances that your child will try new foods.
3. Play with your food.
Some children are scared to touch fruits and veggies because of sensory issues. Try playing with the food and do activities where your little one can smell, feel, and talk about different foods. These activities build up to tasting them. Do this outside of meal or snack time to eliminate the pressure of finishing.
4. Use other foods as a vehicle for introducing fruits and veggies.
Some kids take a while to eat fruits and vegetables when served as a side dish at mealtime. Incorporating healthy foods into items they enjoy can help ensure a balanced diet.
Macaroni and cheese is a perfect example. Add chopped or shredded veggies to the dish if your child likes this dish. Peppers, carrots, peas, or mushrooms boost the nutrients of any meal, but their flavor is masked by the vehicle food.
5. Make fun shapes.
Many gourmet restaurants focus on the presentation of every dish they serve because chefs believe you eat with your eyes first. Cutting fruits and vegetables into fun shapes, like hearts or stars, may influence your child’s desire to gobble them up.
Serving fruits and veggies on brightly colored dishes also enhances the experience. Getting forks or spoons with their favorite characters, like dinosaurs, will make eating fruits and veggies fun.
More healthy eating tips for kids from a dentist in Omaha, NE.
Your child doesn’t have to eat every type of fruit or vegetable to grow healthy and strong. When you find a few fruits and veggies they like to eat, keep serving those. Use these tips to get your kids to try more fruits and vegetables. But if you’re still searching for phrases like “how to get my child to eat veggies,” contact Pediatric Dental Specialists. We’re here to help!