A study published in the Journal of Health Economics three years ago concluded that children just might give in and eat their vegetables if you paid them for it. But before you start planning a payment chart, hold on. The spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Natalie Muth, M.D., says no matter what, the goal should be in raising healthy eaters, not money-makers, and in helping kids to like and prefer healthy foods.
When children are babies, they willingly try new flavors and textures, deciding what they like and don't like. It's an important time in development — and an important time for introducing a wide variety of flavors. You need to build on this as your child grows — but it's not easy. Here are a few simple ways you just may be able to raise kids to eat vegetables:
GREAT TIPS TO BUILD A VEGGIE EATER
• Have dinner together and always place a couple of bowls of freshly prepared vegetables on the table. Many kids will eat small cold carrots with ranch dressing to dip them in. Some children enjoy sweet cherry tomatoes, and many love salads.
• Know if your child is hungry or not. If he comes to the table after snacking, vegetable sampling and eating will NOT go well!
• Start a garden together so they can become enthusiastic about what they grow. Any child can grow a tomato indoors or out.
• Know that as your child gets older he will once again start trying new foods.
• Know that everybody's tastes are different. Your child may hate greenbeans her whole life but love zucchini — who knows? Discover what she loves.
• Discover the Dr. Yum Project online at dryum.org. The meal planning can help you.
• Make sure YOU eat your veggies, too and model good eating for your kids.
• Experiment with preparing veggies for your family. Try these recipes.
• Experiment with whipping up veggie smoothies for your kids. Try these recipes.
SOURCE: Adventures in Veggieland: Help Your Kids Learn to Love Vegetables — With 100 Easy Activities and Recipes by Melanie Potock (The Experiment; 2018).