As a child, nothing in the world was as repulsive and loathsome to me as the thought of having to eat vegetables. But insistent as my parents were, I did not have much choice other than just swallow my portion of the veggies, being painfully aware of the fact that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the table without doing so. Although my parents did try to make it easier for me, all their efforts at making vegetables attractive to me ended up in vain.
But now that I am older, vegetables constitute a major portion of my diet simply because now I am able to appreciate them and as a result, I have even grown to love them. I am even more thankful to my parents for the insistence with which they instilled in me the importance of a healthy diet.
Importance of a healthy diet. Avoiding fruits and vegetables is a common problem not only amongst children but adults as well. However, a taste for fruits and vegetables can be cultivated during the early years gradually and persistently so that on growing up, children actually crave for them and prefer eating them above all other types of food.
Children should be taught to try new types of food and enjoy the different and contrasting flavours offered by the various food types. After all, a balanced and nutritional diet is of paramount importance for children in order to acquire holistic healing and a feeling of overall wellness.
How to encourage kids to eat vegetables
Young age is the best age. It is a proven fact that children who are taught to accept fruits and vegetables at a young age, say between two and four, are more likely to enjoy them. New and healthy foods should be introduced at an early age and in an attractive manner, for example, fruits and vegetables of different colors and shapes, rather than wait till the children are older, say from four to eight years, as children are more receptive and learn more willingly at a younger age.
Set an example. Children are good observers, especially when it comes to their parents. So it is the responsibility of elders in the house to set a good example by eating fruits, vegetables and trying out new and different foodstuffs. Children tend to emulate their parents in every possible way including their eating habits, hence their reaction towards healthy food is largely influenced by their parents behaviour towards such types of food.
Persistence. It is a natural human tendency to resist anything new and this applies to ones food habits as well. Therefore, in order to get children to accept new vegetables or fruits, persistent servings on part of the parent play an important role for the child to be persuaded to try the new food and eventually accept it.
Use your authority. Ultimately it depends upon the parents to decide on the degree of firmness they are willing to exert in order to improve their child’s eating habits. The trick lies in encouraging your children to experiment with new and different foodstuffs and not allowing them to settle down with a fixed diet.
Be Creative. Parents should try and be as creative as possible especially when introducing their children to new vegetables as presentation and taste play a very important part in enhancing its appeal. What better way to discourage a child from eating vegetables than to prepare it bland and serve it ordinarily. Instead, a dish prepared appetizingly full of flavor and interesting ingredients will not only be received with curiosity but stands more chances of being accepted as well.