Five Tips to Help Children Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
Does your child refuse to eat fruit and vegetables? Do you have a daily struggle with convincing them to eat just one more piece of broccoli?
You are not alone.
Many parents report that they find it very difficult to get their children to eat enough fruit and vegetables. As we know, healthy meals for kids are important. Fruit and vegetables form the basis of a nutritious diet and they help development and growth.
Here are our five tips on how to encourage a child to eat fruit and vegetables every day.
Lead by example
Take a look at your own plate, are you eating the fruit and vegetables that you are trying to encourage your children to eat? Children are more likely to trust food which others are eating around them. They are led by example. If someone in your household says they do not like vegetables, it is likely the child will repeat this.
Eating together as a family is also really helpful for encouraging children to eat healthily, with the child seeing the people they love eating the same foods and building trust in them.
Do not reward food with other food
By telling your child they can eat sweets provided they eat what is on their plate can be more detrimental than positive. By doing this, you are glorifying the treat, and demonising the vegetable. This may get them to eat a small amount there and then, but you will need to offer the sweet treat every time in the future too. Don't go down the road that leads to Haribo for every forkful of peas. Sweets outside of mealtimes can be a useful way of making your child feel happy about food in general, but not if they're bargaining chips.
Build a healthy relationship with vegetables
When preparing a meal, involving your children is a great way of building a healthy relationship between your child and vegetables. Ask them which particular carrot they want out of the fridge or let them select their own choice of pepper at the supermarket, for instance. Also, try to involve them in cooking too, and talk about the help they gave when the family sits down to eat so they can revel in the praise everyone showers them with. They will feel good, and associate the good feeling with the food. Choosing, preparing and cooking the meal will make the child more likely to eat it once it is prepared.
Don’t try to give them an education in nutrition
You may be able to sway an adult to choose a healthier product based on nutritional information, but this will not work for children. They do not understand nutrition, nor will it help with convincing them to eat more vegetables.
Try serving meals communally
Putting meals into a bowl in the middle of the table for everyone to serve themselves gives the child a level of control over what they put in their bodies. Therefore, are more likely to finish what they have chosen.
The best way to get more fruit and vegetables into your child’s meals is to change habits for long-term changes rather than short term wins. Building a healthy association with foods they should be eating will ensure success.