National Fruits and Vegetables Month: Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies
While it's true that children's taste buds are more sensitive than adults to the bitter aftertaste of some vegetables, nutrition experts say there's no reason why kids can't grow fond of healthy vegetables with a little help from their parents.
Here are some tips to get more vegetables into kids' diets:
- Lead by example - Children are more likely to eat a variety of vegetables if they see their parents eating them. Parents need to set an example and eat their veggies and children may soon follow their lead.
- Be creative- Make veggies look more appetizing by using cookie cutters to cut them into fun shapes, or top veggies with foods they like, such as peanut butter on celery sticks with raisins, known as "ants on a log."
- Get kids involved - Children are more likely to give vegetables a try if you make them part of the menu planning and food preparation process.. Even young kids can help wash vegetables, peel husk from corn or shell peas.
- Camouflage the veggies - Serve vegetables with low-fat dip or dressing or add them to casserole dishes, pasta sauces, soup, pizza, even desserts, such as zucchini bread. Kids may not realize they're even eating vegetables.
- Keep at it - Children need to be exposed to new foods several times before they want to taste them. Continue to introduce vegetables over and over again until they show interest in trying them.
It may take some time, but with persistence and a little creativity, parents can get their kids to move beyond french fries and eat healthier veggies.
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