HOW DO I GET MY KIDS TO EAT THEIR DANG VEGGIES?
This is a question I get a LOT. Like A LOT.
Why do we have such a problem with veggies?
First of all, we aren’t giving kids veggies when they are first eating. Most parents give their kids rice, then fruit, then meat, then sugar, and somewhere along the line the kids miss out on their chance to experience vegetables. And then when we try to give them veggies later, they say they taste funny.
I also have issue with the way doctors tell parents that nutrition doesn’t matter (wrong!) and that “they will eat veggies later” ( wrong!) and to let kids eat what they ( also WRONG!). This particular soap box is one of my bigger pet peeves. Let’s just say the whole system is kind of broken. So who do we turn to for nutrition advice? The answer is definitely not our pediatricians. They don’t take very much nutrition in med school and most don’t even see a connection between diet and health. This is very disturbing.
To find nutrition advice these days I would find a holistic nutritionist or even a book about feeding our babies whole foods ( meaning fruits AND veggies) from the very beginning. Nutrition is just as important for a baby as for an adult, and even more so. Nutrition makes or breaks a persons health. And for babies, letting them taste and feel vegetables early is one of the most important things you can do for your child.
There are so many books on amazon when I do a quick search, it should be easy to find something good to use.
BUT let’s say that you didn’t know this and your child is now a toddler or older and they won’t eat veggies.
What to do now?
Well, my first question is to you- do YOU eat your veggies? Because we both know that kids will do what you do, not what you say. So you have to start incorporating veggies into your diet. This is imperative. You can’t be trying to get kids to eat theirs when you make faces or don’t eat yours. That’s the law of kiddom #312. BE A GOOD EXAMPLE.
Your palette will change. You CAN start to like them and so will your kids. BE PATIENT.
Set up rules. The two bite rule. And keep trying. Sometimes you have to serve a veggie 10 times before they will eat it. BUT they almost always will end up eating it. Even when you’re exhausted and you don’t want to argue, keep the rules! BE CONSISTENT!
Talk about nutrition and WHY they should eat their veggies. My kids can read nutrition labels! Tell them one way that each veggie can help them. Carrots are good for eyes, Broccoli is good for their brains… Talk about health. MAKE IT IMPORTANT and UNDERSTANDABLE.
STOP, for the love of GOD, STOP calling them PICKY!
Kids hear this and hold on to this label. Don’t call them picky, don’t tell your friends that they don’t eat veggies, DON’T tell them that they have “never liked” their veggies… Try to use positivity instead. “You are absolutely gonna love veggies!” “Veggies are fantastic and they taste amazing!” Don’t force it, I mean use your own language, but talk about it like its GOING to happen. And it will. Talk about veggies like they are magical! DON’T LABEL KIDS!
Did you know that studies show that if you teach good nutrition at home, then the kids will teach their friends and they will influence many other people? If they taught it in school, kids would teach their parents. Kids influence their parents as well, so teaching them nutrition is so important! KIDS ARE ADAPTIVE and LOVE TO LEARN!
So what if you are doing all this and its still not happening…
- Hide them– there are many sneaky ways to get veggies into kids. For example, I put lentils and mushrooms and spinach chopped up really fine into our spaghetti. You can make zucchini bread instead of banana bread. You can get awesome veggie powders lemon flavored veggies for and you can put them into muffins, brownies, or just regular veggie powder veggie burgers or even meat burgers… So many fabulous ways to sneak it in. (Coupon for 50$ off those veggie powders is Prem10)
- Bribery- If they want a snack, they need to eat their veggies. That is the rule in my house. If they want the ipad, they have to eat their veggies. Or make veggies the reward. I have an amazing chocolate dessert hummus recipe that would be a great snack! I know, I know, bribery isn’t necessarily the best thing, but I believe that vegetables are that important. And once they start eating them, it won’t be such a hardship.
- Smoothies- Smoothies can be an amazing way to get veggies into kids. Most kids will eat the heck out of these. Just make sure its not all fruit. Cucumbers and carrots and spinach all have light tastes that can be disguised with fruit. Or you can try the lemon flavored veggies – they taste like lemon tea and make things very yummy!
- ZINC- If they are still really genuinely not liking their food, they could have other issues. Low zinc could be one, or a candida or gluten issue (only wanting carbs), etc. I would recommend a nice holistic functional doctor at that point.
I hope this helps! And as always, feel free to comment below or message me for more help in this area!