Parents want what is best for their children and this includes them having a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet. One problem that parents face in achieving this is getting their children to eat vegetables. Vegetables play an essential role in providing the body with all the vitamins and nutrients that are needed to maintain health and growth. Therefore, it is vital that vegetables are included in their diet. Many children don’t like vegetables for a number of reasons. Some refuse to eat vegetables of a certain colour, for others it is the texture that has caused them to grow a dislike for vegetables. However, there are ways in which you can encourage your children to include vegetables in their diet.
Leading by example is the first step in achieving a healthy diet with your children. If they see you eating healthy balanced meals, then it is more likely that they will follow suit and also eat a balanced diet which includes vegetables, rather than living off junk food. Starting them on a variety of vegetables early is also another important step. When you are first weaning your baby, introduce them to a variety of different pureed vegetables so that they can develop their taste buds.
Including your children in the cooking process can help to make vegetables seem more exciting. For example, make a pizza base and then allow your child to decorate the top with a variety of chopped vegetables. Peppers and tomatoes are ideal for this as they are colourful and make ideal components for designing a smiley face on a pizza. Similarly, making a plate look more interesting by including vegetables of different colours can help to make vegetables more appealing.
Growing your own vegetables and educating your child about them can also encourage them to eat them. If they have been involved at every stage, from sowing a seed to serving the food on the plate, then this can be a real sense of achievement for a child. It will also give them a greater understanding of where their food comes from. This will also provide the ideal opportunity for you to discuss with your child the health benefits of eating fresh vegetables and make comparisons with other less healthy food.
Finally, if all else fails, you can resort to hiding vegetables in food. It is possible to do this with any foods that you blend, for example, pasta sauces or soups. As it is blended, your child may not be able to recognise the specific vegetables that are included, but will be having a healthy, tasty meal.