This is a guest post by Alycia Gordan, a freelance writer who writes about health, lifestyle and high-tech.
Are you tired of your kids’ tantrums and stubborn refusals every time you ask them to eat healthy green foods? Undoubtedly, getting kids to eat those green vegetables can be a daunting task, but don’t give up just yet.
We know you have tried your best, but pleading, scolding or even bribing just won’t make them drop their candies for something that doesn’t taste as good. To be honest, it is really not their fault. We all love sweet things; in fact we are wired to love them. However, that does not mean that we can let our kids eat sugary treats all the time because sugar is a leading cause of obesity in both children and adults.
Here is how you can make your little one eat healthy stuff without losing your head:
Sneak in Vegetables
Kids’ tastes change as they grow. If they don’t like vegetables now, don’t fret; they will eventually start liking them. However, for that to happen, they need to try them a few times. The best way you can make that happen is by sneaking some in their favourite food.
Pasta and pizza are perhaps the two best foods to add vegetables. Add some colour to your pasta with peas and carrots, and spread some spinach on the pizza crust and cover it up with lots of cheese. If your child still doesn’t buy it and picks out the vegetables, don’t worry.
You can hide them in the sauce. All you need to do is boil some vegetables and blend them together to make some creamy sauce. Burger patties are another great idea. Just grate some zucchini and carrots, mix them in the patty and your kid won’t even know.
You can sneak some vegetables in your kids’ breakfast as well. A great way to do that is through egg muffins. Beat some eggs, pour the mixture in a muffin tray, add some capsicums and tomatoes, top it up with some cheese and bake them. Your kids will surely love them.
Unleash Your Creativity
You can’t possibly hide vegetables forever or your kids would never pick them on their own. Gradually, introduce them to the green food separately, but try to be creative. Kids usually run away from broccoli or kale because of the bitterness.
So, all you need to do is mask the bitter taste. You can easily do that by sautéing them in some butter. Other than that, you can serve the veggies with some scrumptious and healthy dips such as hummus or Greek yogurt.
Serve veggies as appetizers right before the main meal, when your kids are really hungry as there are high chances that they will gobble them up. Cut the veggies in different shapes such as some characters, fish or cars, and decorate them in a plate.
Develop Their Interest
This journey to healthy foods would be more fun if you involve your kids. In this way, they will be more willing to accept vegetables. Start taking them for grocery shopping from a young age and let them pick whatever vegetables they find appealing. They will be more excited to eat the things they have bought themselves. It is okay if you haven’t been taking them to the supermarket, start doing that now.
It is a plus if you have a garden. Gardening with kids in your backyard is another great way to get them involved. This will serve two purposes: kids will have fun watching the plant grow and tending to it and they will also learn the importance of vegetables.
Don’t restrict their involvement to just grocery shopping, let them enter the kitchen as well. Yes, it can get very messy, but if it gets your kid to eat healthy, it would be worth it. Boil some vegetables and let them mash them and mix with their favourite dressing such as mayo or ketchup.
You can also allow them to create their own pizza. Once they are a part of the process, they will be happier to eat what they have prepared themselves. Also, don’t forget to praise them for their effort.
Make sure your kids watch cartoons or movies that promote such ideas. Yes, we are referring to Popeye the sailor man, which has inspired a lot of kids to eat spinach. Sit with your kids and tell them that Popeye is your favourite character as well.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
It is not just the kids. Let’s accept the fact that adults too are not fond of eating vegetables. You cannot expect your kids to eat leafy greens while you gorge down junk. Kids learn more from what they see, therefore, if you want your kids to love vegetables, you have to love them too. Well, isn’t parenting all about sacrifices?
Eat whatever you have prepared for them. Moreover, if you eat and praise what they have prepared, they will feel proud of themselves. Grandparents can play a great role in this. Often kids are more attached to grandparents because they are more fun and lenient than the parents, which is why they are more likely to listen to them.
Furthermore, drop those caffeinated drinks that you are so addicted to and start drinking herbal teas to introduce your children to green tea herbs known for their soothing properties. Besides being a good alternative to sugar laden juices, green tea will help kids calm down, have a good night’s sleep and strengthen their immune and digestive system.
Raising kids with healthy eating habits can be difficult and tiring if you have to keep running after them, or pleading with them to eat. If you are a first-time mother, the task can be even more challenging, but it is okay. You don’t need to lose your sleep over it. They are kids after all and they will learn in time. Also, cut them some slack; don’t force them to eat vegetables all the time. Occasional junk food and candies don’t hurt much.
Taking care of your self is as important as taking care of the kids. With such a hectic job, you need constant energy. So, don’t forget to take your meals on time. Green tea is a great source of energy and nourishment. Green tea herbs such as Camellia Sinensis are known for their health benefits as they are full of antioxidants. Drink up a cup or two so that you are always up for the job.
About the Author
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer. She loves to read and write article related to health and lifestyle, sometime on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates and you can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia