How to make children eat fruits and vegetables? This is not always an easy task! But there are some ideas that can help us. And it is that getting children to eat vegetables is a real headache for many parents, and a constant concern for many others.
Many times our children have a hard time eating fruits and vegetables and even refuse to try new flavors, but you will see that with small changes in the way we present these foods we can get them to eat them without any drama (or at least , reducing them).
“Optimal nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow.”
-Dr. Linus Pauling-
How to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables without drama
Although it may seem like a titanic task, getting our children to eat fruits and vegetables is not that complicated, you can even use their own interests.
For example, tell him stories about his favorite superhero who eats fruits and vegetables to be strong, healthy, and brave.
“With love and patience, nothing is impossible.”
You can also try strategies like the ones below:
Presentation is very important
One of the things we should try to pay attention to is the way we present fruits and vegetables to our children. Remember that we eat with our eyes first, so it is necessary to put a little effort to present them in an attractive way.
It is not the same to give him an apple cut in half than to place small pieces with a little imagination, and already at a “pro” level make some figure (a face or a car, for example) and combine it with other foods. It may be a little more work, but the effort is worth it . Many times this is enough to make our children change their minds about whether or not to eat a food.
In the case of vegetables, try steaming them, in this way the shape, color and texture are maintained. It is not the same to present a piece of carrot, potato, etc., firm and beautiful, than a boiled piece without shape and with an opaque color.
Mix bits into other foods (no hiding)
One of the simplest and most effective ways to include more fruits and vegetables in our children’s diet is to mix them in other meals so that their inclusion is progressive.
There are many recipes with which you can integrate these foods progressively , as is the case with biscuits to which you can include fruits or vegetables.
It’s about putting your creativity to work and you can apply this in both sweet and savory recipes.
It is not necessary to include large pieces, you can include them in a crushed or blended form so that your child tolerates it better. It is a simple way to improve their diet without having to fight for them to eat, but never hiding or forcing them.
Apply positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective techniques to promote the desired behaviors in our children, and it is about giving something that is pleasant or positive to the child when he does what we expect of him (it can be a compliment, it is not necessary that be something “material”).
In this case, it would be applied once the child has eaten fruits or vegetables that they previously refused to eat.
However, we must pay attention to the way we do it, because a frequent mistake is to reward other foods for eating fruits or vegetables, and generally it is sweets, chocolates, etc., which is not good in the long term. .
So how to apply it? With positive phrases to recognize what he has done, give him some type of recognition such as a label or drawing, allow him to play something he wants, in short, another type of compensation that does not have to do directly with food.
“Sow good ideas in children even if they don’t understand them… The years will decipher them in their understanding and make them flourish in their hearts.”
The key is consistency. We know that you can get frustrated when you see that you try over and over again to get your child to eat fruits and vegetables without making it happen. Just breathe and keep trying . Always put different foods on his plate, cooked differently, and invite him to try them.
It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t at first, all you have to do is keep putting it on until eventually your child tries it. It doesn’t matter if he takes only small bites or just touches the food but doesn’t eat it, give him space to get used to it and feel comfortable trying it.
Involve your child
Making our children take an active part in the purchase and preparation of food will create a greater interest in trying it, for this reason one of the most effective strategies is to include them when preparing meals (or even, if you have a orchard, at harvest time).
Do not forget to also invite him to participate when choosing fruits and vegetables. Take him with you to do the shopping and let him choose the foods he wants to try. You can help him choose by talking about fruits and vegetables while explaining how good they are for him.
“Eating is a necessity, doing it intelligently is an art.”
Photos | Cover (Freepik)