If you’re like most parents, you do everything you can to keep your kids healthy. You take them for regular check-ups, encourage them to exercise, and prepare balanced meals. You’re doing your part, but if your kids won’t eat the healthy food you prepare, they may be missing basic nutrients.
The best way to encourage your kids to eat healthy is to set a good example by eating your vegetables, too. When cooking meals at home, always make sure to include a nutrient-rich veggie as a side, such as broccoli or carrots.
While it’s impossible to make a child eat anything, there are a few things you can do to help encourage them to eat their vegetables. Eating veggies doesn’t always mean plain, raw or steamed veggies. Trying new kid-friendly recipes can help sneak them into their diet or simply make them more fun and appealing. Another fun way to encourage vegetable consumption is to let them play with their food. Of course, it’s not good manners to play at the dinner table, but your kids can still have fun with food projects, and you may be surprised how many veggies make it into their mouths while they’re playing. Here are some fun play ideas to try:
- Snowy days provide the perfect backdrop for making a mashed potato snowman. Prepare the materials: stiff mashed potatoes and plenty of veggies, like lightly steamed carrots or green beans, peas, green peppers and thinly sliced cherry tomatoes. Your child can use an ice cream scoop to form potato balls for the snowman’s body. Then the fun begins! Green beans can turn into snowman arms, and peas can serve as eyes. Cherry tomatoes make good buttons, and a curved bit of red pepper looks just like a smile. Your child can use her imagination, and she’ll end up eating her veggies, too.
- Veggie ABC’s are easy with carrot sticks and cucumbers. You can help your child use the veggies to spell out his name. When he’s done, he can literally eat his words.
- Fun shapes are fun to eat! Give your child cubed carrots, zucchini rounds, steamed parsnip ovals, or squares of firm avocado. Provide toothpicks and let them make their own constructions. Try not to notice when they actually eat some of the veggies, too.
If you’d like to know more about encouraging your children to eat healthy food, contact us.