My daughter absolutely loves fruit, so I never have any problems getting her to eat an apple or munch on a kiwi fruit, but when it comes to eating her greens sometimes I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle. In fact I’ve resorted to some pretty drastic measures in the past, but here are a few things that have worked:
- Get them involved in making dinner
My little one loves to bake, so I get her in the kitchen and involved with making dinner. She is always much more willing to eat something she has helped to prepare than something I just plonk in front of her. Last weekend we made some savoury muffins packed with spinach, corn and some cheddar cheese.
- Make food fun
Make the food look interesting, include different colours or organise it into a shape, like an aeroplane, a train or a smiley face. My daughter loves tiny Juliet carrots raw – she eats them by the handful. I chop up a few carrots every Sunday and store them in a Tupperware container with water to keep them fresh.
- Be a role model
Prepare the same meal for you and your child and eat with them. When my daughter sees me eating the same thing, she is much more likely to give it a try.
- Make a one pot meal
Make a hearty stew, casserole or risotto, with some of your child’s favourite food and include some vegetables in the dish. The vegetables will soak up the flavour of the dish, and if you chop them up quite finely your children will hardly even notice they are there. Every time I cook mince I include a whole grated Carrot and Zucchini and baked risottos are great, because you can just about throw all the ingredients in a baking dish and pop it in the oven.
- Plant some vegies in your back garden
We a have a few small pots of tomatoes, lettuce, spinach and herbs in our backyard, which I planted with my daughter. I get her to help me with watering them and picking the food when we are ready to eat it, and similar to when I get her to help me in the kitchen, she is much more likely to try foods she helped to grow in the garden.
Remember that children are creatures of habit and are always more likely to go for something familiar rather than try something different, so you may face rejection a few times before your child will eventually give in and try something new… be persistent and patient, and eventually they might find out that broccoli isn’t so bad.
If all else fails you could try feeding your child their vegetables for breakfast if they don’t finish them at dinner! I have a friend that did just this and since then he has not had any issues with the vegies at night.
How do you get your kids to eat their vegies, or try new foods?