Many adults have terrible memories of being forced to eat vegetables as children. Many parents dread ‘food fights’ over veggies with their own children at the dinner table. While it is important for kids to eat more vegetables, there is a kinder, gentler, and more successful way to approach the issue. Here’s how to avoid fights about vegetables and get children to actually enjoy eating their vegetables.
What we know
Given the importance of vegetables for health and nutrition, there has been a significant amount of research on children and their vegetable intake.
- Children are not eating enough produce: Children’s average vegetable consumption is far below recommended levels and has actually fallen over the past five years. Kids especially need to eat more dark green and orange vegetables.
- Children are neo-phobic about foods: Neo-phobic is another way of saying that kids are naturally suspicious of new foods and often reluctant to even touch them. Some children are more reluctant than others; some react strongly to new textures as well.
- Children need positive role models: Children are always watching what those around them are eating. When parents, grandparents, caregivers, and other children enjoy their veggies, kids tend to be more interested in trying them.