Helping your child to develop good eating habits is important. What we experience as children can set the tone for how and what we eat for the rest of our lives. But how we go about this is very important. If we get things wrong we may well get our child to eat all they should and not eat all that they shouldn’t; but as soon as they can make their own decisions they rebel and all our effort crumbles to dust!
Here are a few tips on how to get your child to eat vegetables… often a difficult task!
1. Children love choice… but the best type of choice, as far as being a parent is concerned, is a closed one. In other words not ‘Do you want carrots?’ but ‘Would you like carrots or cabbage?’
This means you give your child choice but quietly stay in control!
2. Disguise vegetables such as onion, tomato, onion, courgette, pepper and aubergine in pasta sauces. They’ll never even know they’re there!
3. Make a delicious soup and pack it full of vegetables… what the child can’t identify, they can’t resist.
4. Present vegetables in an appealing way. Some of my bad memories of vegetables include images of piles of soggy cabbage and carrots that collapse into mush on the plate. It doesn’t have to be that way! Try different methods of cooking… or try not cooking at all! Raw vegetables with tasty dips can be a great way to get their five a day down them.
5. Don’t make a big thing about it. If your child refuses to eat a vegetable then try different vegetables. There are loads of varieties out there. It’s often only habit that keeps us with are favourite two or three. Similarly, try different ways of cooking those vegetables. I know that I love certain vegetables cooked one particular way and hate them cooked in another!
Having a battle of wills at the table is a bad idea. For a start, the child will often win. In any case. You want positive feelings associated with meal times, not feelings of dread. Causing bad feelings around food might do more harm in the long run than is gained by you winning the odd battle over brussel sprouts!