Fruits and vegetables are incredibly important for your baby’s growing body. But some kids, especially as they get older, will avoid eating them at all costs. It’s your job as a parent to get them to eat more fruits and vegetables, at least 5 servings a day, whether it’s through bribery, trickery or a sheer battle of wills.
Here are some methods that will help you in your quest to keep your children stuffed full of fruits and vegetables.
Practice What You Preach
If you want your child to eat fruits and vegetables, you need to bite the bullet and eat them too.
Don’t make it seem like it’s a chore. If she thinks you are enjoying it, she’ll be more willing to give it a try. If she feels your negativity about it, she might have her mind set against that particular vegetable before she even puts it in her mouth.
Introduce a Variety
There are so many fruits and vegetables out there that you’re bound to find a few your children like. Keep searching if they shoot down the first few you try. Start with tried and true kid favorites, like bananas, corn, apples and oranges.
Make a game out of trying a new, less common fruit or vegetable every week, like starfruit, papaya or purple cauliflower.
You can also see how many colors you can fit in one meal – try to incorporate purples, whites, yellows, orange, green and red. The best health benefits are found by incorporating a wide array of colors.
Don’t Give Up
You don’t always have success on your first try. If your child doesn’t like broccoli the first time she tries it, wait a while and then try it again sometime. She might get used to it, or learn that she can tolerate it.
Prepare them a Number of Ways
Your child might not care for raw broccoli, but he might love cooked broccoli topped with a little bit of cheese sauce. Cooked carrots might leave your child swearing them off forever, but that sweet crunch of raw carrots might be one of his favorites.
Experiment with preparation and see if that can help you win this battle.
Let Them Pick Them
Take your child to a pick-your-own blueberry or strawberry patch and let them go wild. There’s something about picking berries straight off the plant, still warm from the sun, that makes them taste better.
Visiting an orchard and seeing all the fresh fruits and vegetables there may increase your child’s willingness to try them.
Another way to entice kids to try fruits and vegetables is to grow your own small backyard garden. They’ll get to watch the entire process of growing produce, from start to finish. Kids always seem to enjoy planting seeds and covering them with soil. They’ll get a kick out of watching those first plants poke out of the soil, and they’ll be amazed watching the fruits and vegetables appear seemingly overnight.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.