We all know that a healthy diet consists of multiple servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Nothing is more important to kids as they grow than getting the vitamins and nutrients that fruits and veggies provide. Yet ask any parent, and they’ll tell you war stories of how their kids just won’t eat veggies (they’re pretty much sold on the fruit side, but that’s because fruit has sugar). Case in point: “Baby Breeze”, our nearly seven year-old who is so picky about food that she prefers milk over soda and could eat just cheese pizza for three meals a day. Not surprisingly, we have a struggle on our hands whenever we try to get her to try something new, vegetables included. Often times, once she’s tried it, she likes it, but getting her to eat her veggies can still be a daunting task. You would think that with veggie-lovers like us as parents and role models it would be a snap, and while it’s important to practice what you preach with kids, that just isn’t enough. So, grounded in the process of actually raising a kid who won’t eat their vegetables, today we’d like to share a few techniques that have worked for the Berrybreeze™ team.
1. Flavor It Up!
As we grow into adults and develop a more sophisticated palette, we can develop an appreciation of the natural taste of vegetables. Kids, not so much. That’s why it’s super important to, and nothing wrong with, adding a little familiar flavor to literally whet their appetite. A little butter, garlic, salt, even bacon make veggies taste yummier, we have come to find. That’s the secret to Baby Breeze eating her brussels sprouts.
2. The One Bite Rule and Finishing
We have rules around the house for everything, chores, homework, technology, and eating is no different. This applies to all new foods, but we enforce the one bite rule for veggies at each meal. That is coupled with the rule that vegetables don’t have to be finished, since forcing kids into doing things often ends with the opposite of the desired result.
3. Hidden Nutrition
Almost all parents have figured out that sometimes the path of least resistance is the way to go. That involves incorporating veggies into recipes in ways that kids can’t detect. Spinach and carrots are great for pureeing and sneaking into dishes. Jerry Seinfeld’s wife came out with a great cookbook on this subject a while ago, and there are plenty of resources on the internet to give you ideas. Sometimes changing both taste and appearance is enough, like when we chop up, season, and then roast kale to make awesome kale chips! When all else fails, there’s the “Flinstone” approach.
4. Taste The Rainbow!
We can already see the Cease and Desist letter coming from the Skittles legal team. Seriously, getting creative with color is not only a fun way to get kids interested in eating veggies, it’s nutritionally sound. Kids need to eat five colors of the rainbow every day, and that’s a great way to get them to self-manage and take responsibility for their nutrition. For more about this check out www.todayiatearainbow.com
5. Patience Pays Off
The most important thing to remember is that kids grow and change both physically and mentally. Their likes and dislikes evolve with their attitude from week to week year to year. By sticking to a steady introduction of vegetables, along with enforcing rules that they have to at least have some, Baby Breeze veggie portfolio has grown over the years. The bottom-line is that it may take a village to raise a child, but it definitely takes a lifetime of creativity and perseverance to get them to eat and grow in a healthy manner.
Is any of this helpful to you? What are some strategies that have worked with your kids? No seriously, we’d really like to know! Leave a comment below?