Children are known for being extremely picky about the foods they eat. While a rare child may not care what you put on their plate, the majority will probably have a preference for what you have for dinner each night. In these cases, the idea of trying to get your child to eat vegetables may seem impossible, but there are a few things you can do to encourage your child to eat their veggies, and maybe even succeed in having them take a few bites!
At Sunshine Starts in Yorktown Heights, we care about the wellbeing of your child just as much as you do. Our childcare services include everything from helping them form a life-long love of learning to encouraging them to eat a balanced meal during the day. We promise to work with you, the parent, to provide the very best child care services for your little one, so if you are interested in learning more, contact Sunshine Starts today! In the meantime, continue reading below for a few tips that you can use to encourage your child to eat their veggies!
Disguise the Bitterness
While you may love the different flavors that vegetables bring to the table, your child may not. Some veggies like broccoli and kale have a bitter flavor, and while you may enjoy it, or at least be used to it, it can be very unappealing to your little one. Bitter flavors are often categorized in our brains as things we should stay away from, and children are extremely sensitive to bitter tastes. As you can imagine, this can lead to an unpleasant association with bitter vegetables, which is why it’s a good idea to try and disguise the bitter flavor as best as you can. Instead of serving raw or unseasoned veggies, do your kiddo a favor and try adding things like butter and salt to their veggies. You may be surprised how a single ingredient can make your child completely change their mind about a food.
Serve Veggies With Dip
As a parent, you have probably come to grips with compromising for the sake of your child, whether it’s your free time or the healthiness of your meal. It’s understandable that you want your child to get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need to grow big and strong, but for a child, that’s not a good enough reason to suck it up and eat something that tastes gross.
If your child is refusing to eat their vegetables no matter what you do, one trick you can try is serving some veggies with dip. Use a little ranch dressing or a specific vegetable dip that you buy at the store, and encourage your kiddo to try even just one bite. A side of dip can make a huge difference, and it may be the solution you need to win your little one over.
Eat Vegetables First
At mealtimes, you may notice that your child goes straight to one food before all of the others. While it’s good that they have an appetite, more often than not they leave their vegetables for last and then claim they “aren’t hungry.” If this is a common occurrence at home, then you may want to try making it a rule that everyone eats their veggies first. You will probably hear some protest, but the important thing to make clear is that it is a rule for everyone, including the parents. Once your child sees that you are eating your veggies first too, they may be more willing to accept the new rule.
Start a Vegetable Garden
There are times where the vegetables offered at the grocery store are less than ideal, and if you’re not willing to eat them, then your child probably won’t either. For this reason, we recommend starting your own vegetable garden! Not only will you be able to eat fresh vegetables straight from the garden, but it will also give you and your child a fun project to do together! Have them help you pick out the veggies you want to grow in your garden, and teach them all about the growing process. Getting your little one involved will help them feel included, and it will make them more willing to try the finished product — it’s a win-win!
Experiment In the Kitchen
Sometimes vegetables on their own can be boring, and if your little one went from loving their veggies to refusing to touch them, it could be because they are simply bored with the meal. Whether that’s the case or you’re just running out of ideas, it’s never too late to try and experiment in the kitchen.
Instead of putting the veggies front and center, try hiding them within the meal. For example, if your child loves spaghetti, try changing up the recipe by using zucchini noodles instead of pasta, or make a casserole that has broccoli covered in cheese on the top! When you try to disguise the veggies, your little one may not even notice they’re eating them until it’s already in their stomach.
Discover More Tips at Sunshine Starts!
At Sunshine Starts in Yorktown Heights, we are dedicated to providing your child with the very best child care services that we can. Our goal is to help your little one develop a strong foundation and a life-long love of learning through exploration and play. Check out our child care services on our website to learn more, and give us a call to schedule a tour.
We look forward to meeting you and your child!