To all my fellow mommies out there…let’s talk about getting our kids to eat their veggies! If you have a baby you’re in luck because that’s where it all begins. At least it did for my kids. I didn’t give my babies cereal first, then fruit and follow along with the North American traditional food guidelines. I started with veggies! Home made sweet potato/carrot/peas puree were my foods of choice. Starting with veggies and going through the gamut of veggie options I believe, gave my kids a healthy start and natural love for all veggies. This gives the taste buds a chance to develop other favorites instead of just sweet tasting foods. Do some research and see what people around the world feed their babies. It’s quite fascinating!
This is not to say they don’t have they dislikes. My son dislikes tomatoes (okay not really a veggie but still!) but my daughter loves them. My daughter dislikes brussel sprouts but my son loves them. Yet both love broccoli. Now that they are 8 and 5yrs old, I know exactly what they truly love and what they will only tolerate but don’t really like.
Despite all this I will still put a multitude of veggies on their plates and in their lunchboxes each day. I tell them that our family rule is that they must try everything once. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it but everything on their plate must have been tried at least once at each meal. This makes them continue to taste things they don’t love first time around and with enough exposure over time, they will acquire a taste for it. This happened to me as a kid. I hated brussel sprouts but they were always on my plate!! My mom insisted that I eat 1 or 2 each time. For years I didn’t like them, now for whatever reason I love them. Don’t even know how it happened!!
The idea with kids is to give them tons of real food. Even if they are picky at first they will find foods that they like if given enough choices of whole foods and no options for fake food. What exactly does that mean? Well, real food does not come in packages and in rainbow colors. Real food is not shaped like elephants and fish. Real food definitely does not mean sugary breakfast cereal. Real food is food that is as close to its natural state as possible. “Eat close to the earth” my mother always said.
So get creative Draw a picture on their plate with the veggies. Kids love finger food! Make it easy for little hands to grab tiny carrots, cherry tomatoes etc…and of course dip. Easy and healthy dips like hummus or Greek yogurt with dill. There are so many options! Fruit salads for breakfast or dried fruit with nuts or seeds for snacks. Couscous or quinoa instead or white rice. Slowly start removing the processed foods and replace them with fresh produce and complex carbs. Take it slow and make it fun!
What veggies do your kids like and dislike?
Any good tips to share?