How to Encourage Your Kids to Eat Fruits and Veggies

It’s an alarming fact that the percentage of overweight and obese have dramatically increased over the last few decades. In 1975, only 4% of the children and adolescents around the world (from ages 5 to 19) were either overweight or obese. By 2016, that has risen to a little over 18%. That’s truly a huge increase.

It’s a real problem in the US, where the percentage of obese children has reached 19.7%, with 22.2% for the adolescents ages 12 to 19 years old.

The good news is that you can start instilling good habits in your children while they’re young. You can have them get a membership in a gym. Some gyms, such as 24 Hour Fitness, offers youth programs specifically tailored for children. You can also start with a healthy family diet, and encourage your children to eat more fruits and vegetables. They’re certainly much healthier for everyone than food and drinks laden with sugar and saturated fat.

The bad news is that it’s not actually all that easy to have kids naturally go with fruits and vegetables. Admit it; they’re not as tasty as fast-food burgers, pizzas, and ice cream treats.

But you can still succeed in encouraging your children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Here are some tips that may help.

Normalize the Practice

You shouldn’t make a big deal out of eating fruits and vegetables. Serve them every day. Stock up on frozen veggies. Keep frozen, dried, and even canned fruits available.

Make them part of each meal, and snacks should normally include fruits. It should be a part of everyday dining life, like wearing clothes, using utensils, and sitting down at a table.

As their parent, you should also provide a good example. Hypocrisy just won’t help, and saying “Do as I say and not as I do) just isn’t effective. You need to eat fruits and vegetables as well. Children, especially the younger ones, tend to emulate their parents.

Just don’t force the children to eat fruits and vegetables. If they refuse at first, don’t criticize or nag them into agreeing. This is often counter-productive.

It’s actually common for children to refuse various types of new food they encounter. It may even take as many as 10 times of introducing they fruits and vegetables before they try it.

Usually, children start eating fruits and vegetables when they see mommy and daddy enjoying them as well. If you really like them, then children will be convinced to like them too. That’s why you should show signs that they’re delicious for you. Treat them like you’re enjoying your favorite meals.

Gradual Addition

What if you’re only starting now in adding fruits and vegetables to the family diet? If that’s the case, you can start by adding these fruits and veggies to the various dishes your family normally enjoys.

If you’re having cereal, add some slices of fruit to it. The same goes if you’re having yogurt or even pancakes. You can make celery, banana, carrots, and apples tastier by mixing them with a yogurt dip, or even just peanut butter.

You can also serve green salads for every meal, and add some fruits to the salad as well. Try adding strawberries, mango, pineapple, grapes, pink grapefruit, and oranges. These are generally considered the “yummiest” fruits, to they’re fun additions to any salad.

Make It Interesting

That fruits and vegetables are fun is a notion that must be emphasized again and again. You can start with fruits and veggies with different colors. If they’re young enough to like painting with colors and drawing with crayon, then you can have them draw and paint various colorful fruits and veggies. They’ll then associate fun and play when they encounter these same foods at the dining table.

You should also try to discover your children’s particular preferences when it comes to food. Do they like them crunchy, or soft? Which particular fruits and veggies do they prefer? Start with the more colorful veggies, especially the ones with a sweeter taste. Carrots, cauliflower, corn, and pumpkin are great starters.

You should also experiment in various ways to prepare them. Have them involved in the cooking, especially if the kids like to engage in activities with their parents. Try out various dips, sauces, and seasoning options that may go well with the fruits and veggies. You can try them with melted cheese, hummus, and mayonnaise.

It’s also a good idea to check out the fruits and vegetables options from many parts of the world. Start out with kabobs, and go on from there!

5 Veggie-Packed Recipes For Your Kids!

Category: Featured