According to the latest National Health Survey (2017-2018), only one in 17 children ate the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables. So what can you do if your child refuses to eat them? Here are a few ideas that may help:
Ideas to Try
Offer variety. Offer your kids a range of different types of vegetables daily, aiming to make their plate as colourful as possible. Also, aim for variety in the way you serve vegetables. For example, they could be stir-fried, steamed, curried, mashed, roasted or grated into other dishes.
Praise but don’t punish. Praise your child when they try or eat their vegetables. However, don’t force them to eat anything, or punish them if they don’t. If they refuse to eat their veggies, don’t make a fuss. Just try again soon.
Persist. Some children need to try a new food up to 10 times before they accept it and another 10 times before they decide they like it. So, don’t give up the first time they refuse a new vegetable.
Include vegetables across the day.
Include vegetables across the day. Don’t leave all your kids veggie serves to dinner. Incorporate them into all meals and snacks. For example, baked beans or a cheese-and-tomato toastie at breakfast, salad in a wrap for lunch and vegetable sticks with dip as a snack.
Involve them in shopping and cooking. Children are more likely to eat food that they have helped prepare, so involve your kids when preparing meals – even something as simple as letting them choose the vegetables when shopping or for each night’s meal from the fridge can work.
Grow your own. Growing a few vegetables in the garden or in pots is a great way to encourage kids to eat their veggies.
Spinach, tomatoes and herbs are easy to grow and don’t use much space.
Hide them. For the very fussy eaters, try hiding vegetables in foods you know they will eat. Try grated vegetables in cakes and muffins, and diced or grated in bolognaise sauce and casseroles.
Be a good role model! Your children learn about food choices from you, so it’s important that they see you eating and enjoying your vegetables. Use family mealtimes to teach your child about healthy eating by ensuring that vegetables and salads feature regularly as part of your meals.
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