Getting kids to eat more fruit and veg is undoubtedly one of the most common challenges faced by modern parents. But the good news is that, with the right strategy, it is possible.
It might only be one aspect of encouraging your family to eat healthily. Still, it is a big one and provides the foundation for overall success. Here are some simple tricks to help you win the day.
Incorporate Fruit & Veg Into Fun Treats
As with many of the little battles you may face as a parent, encouraging the right mindset is one of the most important steps on the road to success. Therefore, making fruit and vegetables feel more fun will play a key role.
There are many ways to make fruit and veg fun. Baking pizzas from scratch will use tomatoes and a range of other veggies. Or you can combine a naughty treat like chocolate with strawberries and grapes with the use of a choc fountain. Perfect.
While these simple ideas are perfectly aligned to the needs of young children, teens respond well too. Of course, you need to adapt the situation so that it’s not babified. A garden party that integrates those healthier foods, for example, will serve you well.
Add Fruits & Veggies As Side Dishes
Messing too much with your family favorites can have a negative impact. This doesn’t mean that you should give up on the bid to introduce healthy ingredients to your mealtimes. Side dishes and appetizers are the perfect outlets.
You can make shaved brussel sprouts more interesting by adding bacon. Or you can make a fancy side salad that uses goat’s cheese or a vinaigrette dressing to bring bland ingredients to life. By having them as side dishes, kids maintain a sense of control too.
There’s a difference between encouraging kids to eat healthy dishes and forcing them to do it. When they do help themselves to the fruit and veg-based dishes, praise them. Even if they don’t like the dish, it encourages them to try more.
It can take youngsters up to 10 tries of a new food before they decide whether they like it. Moreover, they respond well to routine. So, if you stick at it while setting a good example by eating more fruits and veg yourself, success should follow.
Fruit-based snacks are a great way to add healthier foods to your diet without changing your meals. For young kids, you may even try using a reward chart for a few weeks. Once they’ve established a new routine, they’ll keep to it.
Patience is king, not least because children often feed off negative attention just as much as positivity. If your son or daughter won’t take to a particular fruit or vegetable, move to another. In time, you will find the foods that they love.
If all else fails, you can look to hide fruits and vegetables. Start adding chopped carrots to a bolognese or trade spaghetti for courghetti. In many cases, kids either won’t notice or will find that they prefer the new choice. Hoorah!