It stands to reason that the best way to adapt to and continue a vegetarian or vegan diet is to start at the beginning. And today that’s where we start: at the beginning.
We always hear parents complain about “little Johnny” not eating his veggies. The unfortunate part is that sometimes “little Johnny” eventually wears down his parents and is soon feasting on cookies, chocolate and chips. How sad! But this post isn’t about reprimanding parents – it’s about how to convince children to eat their vegetables. So following are a few suggestions parents, grandparents and other caregivers can use in order to convince the little tykes to HAPPILY partake of the greenery that most absolutely despise:
1. Eat veggies yourself! Did you know that young children mimic parents at every wake and turn? That’s why we’re advised to watch what we say and do in their presence. And it doesn’t end at toddler-hood (is that even a word??). Thing about it: doctors often raise children who in turn become doctors; mechanics’ kids learn all about cars and in turn become mechanics; etc. So…if you want your kids to eat veggies, start munchin’ and crunchin’ on some carrots, celery, and broccoli!
2. Make it interesting! Don’t simply put the veggies on a plate and hope for the best; play the ‘airplane coming in to land’ game with peas on a spoon. Or cut soft carrots in an interesting shape and tell a story while you’re feeding the child. If there’s no fear of allergies, use an interesting spread on the veggies to liven them up. Truth is a little creativity goes a long way.
3. Combine a mixture of the tyke’s favorite snacks (in a baggie or plastic container) and toss in some sliced vegetables for good measure. They’ll likely not even know the difference.
4. Be consistent! DON’T GIVE IN AND DON’T GIVE OUT! It really doesn’t matter that your child doesn’t like veggies: THEY’RE GOOD FOR THEM! Just as you’d administer a prescribed med for your child’s health, a consistent diet of veggies will give your child a boost in healthy living well into adulthood. So don’t compromise as if to say, “Okay…we’ll feed you veggies three days a week.” No! Veggies (and fruit) are necessary EVERY SINGLE DAY — FOR LIFE! (And isn’t that what it’s really all about?)
These are just a few thoughts to convince your child to grow to love veggies with the end goal of growing up healthy and strong.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN GETTING YOUR KIDS TO EAT VEGGIES? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? Do tell by sending me an email, leaving a post on my FB page, or connecting with me on Twitter and sending a post there.
I’m Chef KESS