FitterFly Tricks of getting kids to eat their greens….
Bsc Food Science and Quality Control, Msc in Dietetics and Food Service Management
- Posted On February 17, 2018
Are you dealing with a finicky eater on hands who hates vegetables or do you keep wondering how to get them eat those lovely greens??
These are list of inherent questions prevailing in a parent’s mind forever. To top it, a kid’s affinity for food is never constant and consuming veggies is rarely a part of that affinity :)
If you are a parent whose battling with a choosy eater who avoids veggies especially, don't worry.. there are plenty of ways to trick and get them the nutrients they need without even their knowledge. Parents are forever on the lookout for sneaky ideas to get their child eat more veggies and we at FitterFly are listing down some of our top favorites.
1: Set an example with veggies
Be a role model- Your child learns food choices from you, hence the best way to influence your child to eat those veggies is by letting them see you eating and relishing them yourself. It’s challenging to expect your child to eat one if you, yourselves restrict consumption of them.
Always remember, enough exposures to the veggies will make them more familiar to the varieties available increasing their chances of tasting them.
Try new varieties of veggies and insist on the child to try along with you.
Family meals are the best time to educate your child and impart the habit of eating veggies.
2: Never give up on veggies
It’s typical for a child to dislike a vegetable when they taste it for the first time. However, the mantra is to keep offering and trying the vegetable in various forms and encouraging the child to try and taste them. Huge possibility that your child might start liking a particular vegetable after tasting it repetitively!!!
3: Disguise them in food
This seems to be the world’s best solution- hiding veggies in your child’s favourite foods like pastas, soups or parathas, etc. Variety of options could be resorted to- like adding veggies in an omlette or on pizzas and masking them with cheese or stuffing them in quesadillas.
However, remember that it’s also important to give vegetables to the child in their original form so that the child gets familiar with the taste and the texture and starts developing liking for the vegetable.
4: Getting kids involved
Children are more likely to taste a dish if they are involved in either planning or preparing it.
Allow the lil’ chefs to do miniscule kitchen chores like preparing salads, washing veggies, arranging sliced vegetables on a pizza base or even mixing up things which aren’t hot. These tasks give them a sense of satisfaction and make them more enthusiastic and cooperative while eating the meal.
Take your kids along with you to the vegetable market or a grocery store and let them pick veggies to cook. This will keep them excited about eating their own chosen varieties or atleast tasting them.
Help them plant and harvest their own veggies in your garden or your home-based pots -this gives them satisfaction of having eaten self grown food.
5: Stop forcing to finish!!
Don’t ever be pushy in helping your child try new veggies, however be persistent. Every child is different….what works for one child might not work for another!
Furthermore, forcing to eat a particular veggie they don’t like creates a negative experience. The child will associate food with bad feelings which could have an undesirable effect. Food bribing or punishments don’t help either and can also lead to negative association with food.
If your child refuses to eat even after repeated requests, please take the meal away and re-try some other time. However, don’t give up. Do keep making those efforts of offering veggies time and again.
6: Appreciate when your child tries vegetables
Appreciating or praising a child for trying one morsel of a rejected veggie or each time they try eating a new veggie with things like stickers makes it easier for them to atleast try the food. This positive effect might result in them rating the food affirmatively in the future.
7: Relating veggies with fun
Make familiar veggies more fun either by decorating them or varying the preparation. Relating healthy food to fun things is a great way to get a few bites of greens down the tummy. Eg relating to the child’s favorite cartoon character eating veggie or making a vegetable face snack using grated carrot for hair or bell pepper strips for mouth or even shaping up the veggies as a heart or a smiley face would be exciting for younger kids.
8: Go for variety, diverse food colors.
Try to choose veggies of different shapes, colours, textures and taste – the more variety you offer, more are the chances that they might find something interesting and develop new taste.
Pair new veggies with the food your child enjoys to make sure the focus is not entirely on the new veggies served. Add fun to everyday veggies with a range of bright colours and notice the acceptance.
Taste is a remarkable contributor in the acceptability factor for veggies. Try different styles of cooking, add veggies to different recipes and try out additional flavourings to enhance the taste.
9: Make vegetables an accessible option.
If you stock up on vegetables for snacks and limit unhealthy snacks in your home, your child is more likely to choose those easily available options when hungry. Keeping a bowl of chopped veggies, like cucumber, carrots or capsicum, in the fridge serves as a quick filler option. Serve vegetable sticks with tasty sauce or a dip, natural yoghurt, cheese or other tastier accompaniments.
It depends upon child to child in terms of the acceptance time of any veggie and hence different options could be explored which could suit your child. Continue to set a good example and create positive experience about veggies and keep exposing them to those healthy veggies which they dislike on an ongoing basis….by never giving up!!
Fitterfly is a wellness company run by doctors, nutritionists and wellness experts with an aim to empower people with knowledge and tools for good health. Our qualified Nutritionists at Fitterfly provide detailed customized guidance according to your child’s age, health condition, cuisine and personal preferences. To know more download and use ‘Fitterfly Wellness’ app from play store or app store or write to us at email@example.com or just call us at +917045065225