Getting children to eat their vegetables can be one of the hardest tasks in raising children. We know that because when we were children, we probably had the same reaction to vegetables. We might recall them being nasty, foul, repugnant in taste and texture. Not just because of the way they taste, but because of the reputation they get from other children.
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Though vegetables may not be as tasty or appealing as candy or snacks for children, it’s pretty obvious that they are a crucial component of our children’s diet. Vegetables contain many and plenty of essential nutrients that are necessary for children to grow healthy. As children grow, they need as many healthy nutrients in their diet as possible.
Highly recommended vegetables for children are:
- Green beans
The Benefits of Eating Vegetables for Children
1. Vegetables are fresh and organic
They do not have fat and are generally low in calories. It means that children can eat larger portions and get vitamins, minerals, and fibres that come from vegetables without gaining excessive weight.
2. Vitamin A and C
Vitamin A is essential for eye health, skin health and helps to protect them from infections. Vitamin C is important for healthy teeth, gums and also aids digestion and iron absorption. These vitamins are important for the growth of children.
3. Rich in Fibre
Vegetables are a great source of natural fibres. Dark, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli have a high fibre content. Fibre is essential for the digestive system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure, prevent heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Vegetables are a natural source of potassium. Potassium is essential for children, as it helps blood flow in the body and supports bone health. As children’s bones are continually growing as they get older, it’s crucial that a lack of potassium doesn’t compromise its integrity and strength.
How to Encourage Kids to Eat Their Veggies
1. Lead by example
Your kids do not learn from your advice. They learn by your example. If you aren’t eating your fair share of vegetables, it’s very unlikely your children will either. By eating vegetables alongside your child, they can see that it’s completely harmless to eat and that they don’t feel alone when eating it.
2. Supplement with favourable choices
Just because you need to eat vegetables, doesn’t mean meal times have to be boring or even a chore. By creating meals and dishes that contain some vegetable along with meat or carbohydrate of their choice, they’ll look forward to their meal and won’t have to eat vegetables on its own.
3. Reward them
If your child tries to resist vegetables too much, rewarding them might do the trick. By giving them an incentive to eat it, they will go through it whether it’s rewarding them with their food of choice, letting them play video games or watching TV after they eat the vegetables. Getting healthy may not be as important to them as playing games or watching TV, so finding a reward for eating vegetables may do the trick.
4. Make it a habit
Kids will give you a hard time when you try to feed them vegetables. They will resist, get upset, cause you problems but you need to be patient. No matter what you do to encourage their consumption of vegetables, at the end of the day, they must eat it.
Over time, once they continually eat vegetables consistently, they will get over the dread of it, overcome its ‘bad’ taste and will not resist as much. By making it a habit in your child’s life, they will resist less and eating vegetables will not be a problem anymore.
5. Educate them on the importance of veggies
Making your child do something from the pure force, is never good, and forcing them to eat vegetables is also one of those things. If you are making your child eat vegetables based on the reason they have to, the struggle will last forever. Take the time to educate your child on the importance of a proper diet on health and lifestyle.
Teach them the benefits vegetables brings to the body in the short and long term and also teach them about the consequences of not having them. When your child has a better education on the importance of vegetables, dieting, and health in general, it is more likely they will make a conscious effort to adopt a healthier lifestyle and start eating their veggies.
If your child generally only has problems with eating vegetables, you can speak with your child’s doctor or professional dietician for help or the best course of action.
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