Do you think your child hates vegetables? If so, there is nothing to worry about as most children run away from these healthy greens. That being said, the benefits of vegetables for a child’s health and growth are so wide-ranging that they can’t be simply put aside.
Before we go into the details of helping your child love vegetables, let’s understand why children hate greens in the first place.
Why Children Hate Vegetables?
This behavior is not strange to science. The fact that children hate vegetables has an evolutionary explanation.
Our ancestors lived in the wild where most of the plants were not healthy to eat. So, they developed a gene to help them filter out. The new gene made plants containing toxins taste bitter. The reluctance of children to eat greens is in fact, a leftover of that evolutionary adaptation.
Being the most vulnerable, children have developed a stronger aversion to bitter taste to help them learn. So, in simple words, vegetables simply taste bitter to them as they have twice the number of taste receptors we have. But, because we already know which plants are healthy to eat, it’s our duty to help them overcome that expired adaptation.
How to Encourage Kids to Eat Vegetables?
Here some simple and interesting ways to help and encourage your child to eat vegetables:
1. Set a Good Example
Let us remember that parents are the authority over their children for a long time. So how can a toddler eat vegetables if his mom and dad don’t eat them? Give him an example! Eat the vegetables yourself and show your child that this is normal.
2. Don’t Force to Eat
There is nothing worse than forcing someone to eat. Would you like to eat something under duress that you do not like? Just. Therefore, let’s not force the little ones to eat. Otherwise, it will have the opposite effect and alienate our children from vegetables for good.
3. Treat vegetables normally
Don’t make a scandal about your child’s refusal to eat vegetables. Then every meal will become an unpleasant problem. Don’t let your toddler know that vegetables are something special that needs to be eaten.
4. Organize a Vegetable Day
Learning through play is the best way to explore the world. So before you sit down to eat together, show your child what you are going to eat and introduce them to the fascinating world of vegetables. You can read a book about the adventures of carrots together, or you can draw or color vegetables that you will eat today.
5. Name Your Dishes
This is another fun way to get used to your vegetables. Create a friendly atmosphere and make the meals served more attractive to the child. You can, for example, playfully tell a made-up story about the superhero’s favorite broccoli or carrots prepared according to a recipe from the Stumil Forest (depending on the literary or film characters that the toddler likes at the moment).
6. Serve Before The Main Course
Serving the vegetables just before a meal can be a bit cunning but effective. Eventually, a hungry toddler may convince himself of them when he is no longer looking forward to dinner.
7. Make Attractive Side Dishes
Steamed, baked, or boiled vegetables. With spices, aromatic sauce, or a little cheese. Make sure that the side dishes are presented in an attractive and varied manner.
8. Don’t Fall Into the Routine
Nobody likes to eat the same thing over and over again. Remember that vegetables can be served in many ways. Try new recipes. Have fun cooking and you will see that you will finally hit the taste buds of your child.
9. Smuggle Vegetables
This is a somewhat cunning method, but harmless. On the contrary. Toddler doesn’t want to eat a raw tomato on a plate? Serve it in a dish you like, e.g. pizza, soup, casserole or lasagne.
While making any diet changes to your child’s menu, you may want to learn about these baby nutrition principles designed for a two-year-old.
What Vegetables Are Especially Great for Kids?
As a rule of thumb, all the vegetables that are good for you are good for your kid as well. That being said, some vegetables are definitely better than others. This is particularly important in the case of kids as they are already reluctant to the greens and they won’t consume as frequently as we do.
Here is a list of healthy vegetables you may want to introduce into your children’s menu:
- Cherry tomatoes.
- Baby carrots.
- Sweet potatoes.
9 Vegetables Kids Surprisingly Love
While kids generally stay away from vegetables, there are some including microgreens they actually love. In case if you fail to introduce all the vegetables into the kids’ menu, you may still try some of these.
- Bell Peppers.
- Winter Squash.
- Beets. Your child may especially love having a glass of beet juice.
- Kale. (Kale health benefits)
- Summer Squash.
Do you have any other great ideas in mind which will encourage children to eat more vegetables? Share your thoughts and thanks for coming across.