Most children love sweet and colourful foods, and very often, these are not the healthiest because they tend to contain too much sugar, salt, fat, artificial flavours, additives and dyes.
Fresh produce cooked at home is the best option for a healthy, balanced diet for the entire family. Children's palates are, however, difficult to please and vegetables are usually the most unpopular item on their menu.
When children started eating semi-solid food, vegetables were not a problem because they were all mashed, pureed, and sometimes flavoured with milk.
But when they grew older and started taking adult food, the problem began. They had developed an ability to detect even the smallest bit of chopped vegetable in the spoonful. Very quickly, the vegetable appeared at the tip of their tongue, ready to be spat out.
How to Teach
How do we teach children to enjoy eating vegetables? Parents will discover that forcing does not work. Neither does hiding the chopped veggies with other food in a spoonful, especially when the textures differ and the greens are still visible.
Hiding only works with them when veggies are finely chopped and mixed into gravies, pasta sauces, omelets or meatballs. Parents would do that to ensure that children still gets the nutritional value of vegetables.
There is, however, a school of thought that children must not be cheated into eating vegetables by sneaking them into the meal, as it does not effectively teach them the importance of eating healthy food like vegetables.
If your child prefers vegetables raw, we would suggest that you don't bother cooking them. Give them carrot and celery sticks, with some mayonnaise, salad dips or even tomato sauce if that's what they love, instead of cookies during snack time.
We also need to remind ourselves children's tastebuds change as they grow older. It does not mean that if they disliked broccoli at age four that they would not eat it at seven. For examples, children might like to eat only carrots and celery when they was four but at 7, they might eat cauliflower, broccoli stems, corn and beans.
Need to be Consistent
We simply need to be consistent in making vegetables a part of their meal and continue to let them try different types of vegetables.
It is said that if we let our children help us cook, they are more likely to eat what they have cooked.
That could work with vegetables too. Let them choose a vegetable dish they think they would like to cook and let them help you cook it.
And if you have a garden or planter boxes, a longer-term project to help children take to greens could involve starting a vegetable plot together. Allow them to choose the seeds they would like to grow and ensure that they invest some time every day tending to the plants.
This will encourage them to eat their harvest, and later, develop an interest in gardening and planting their own vegetables.
More info on VEGETABLES HERE.