Getting Your Child to Eat more Fruit and Vegetables
Recently the government’s new guideline for healthy eating has a dinner plate divided into sections. Half the plate should be fruits and vegetables. Yikes—half the plate fruit and vegetables? Yes, half the plate. Not half the plate with fried chicken and the other half mashed potatoes with gravy? Nope. How can a busy working parent get less fast food and more fruit and vegetables into their child? It won’t be easy, but if it makes for a healthier child- it will be worth the struggle. The following are suggestions that might make it easier for you to get your children to eat their vegetables:
- Limit fast food. Plan your meals in advance so that you don’t have to rely on the drive-through on your way from work. If having to plan a week in advance is too difficult-start with two or three days of meal plans. Frozen meals prepared for those very busy days can be a life saver and give you time to toss a salad.
- Grocery shop with your children. Let the children touch and smell the fruits and vegetables. Children are more likely to accept a new food if they helped select it in the market.
- Cook with your children. Have the children wash the fruits and vegetables and even add a little butter or seasoning to the vegetables. Just like selecting the food at the market, children also are more likely to eat something they helped prepare.
- Have a Vegetarian night. There are lots of great tasting vegetarian meals on Pinterest and in cookbooks—find one that is high in protein and one that would suit all members of your family.
- Hide the veggies in foods. Chances are your children eat fruit, but vegetables are your struggle. A morning or afternoon smoothie or the new juicing experience not only tastes great, but is full of fruits and vegetables! Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry’s wife) and author of “Deceptively Delicious” have many wonderful recipes in her book which are full of hidden vegetables. (Two easy child-friendly vegetable/fruit juice recipes are at the end of this post.)
- Choose healthy snacks for children such as fresh fruit and vegetables with tasty dips. Keep healthy snacks well-stocked at home, readily available and easily accessible for children to grab. Save cookies and other sugarcoated treats for a sporadic sweet treat or special occasions.
- Don’t overcook vegetables. Steaming or microwaving retains more nutrients than boiling. Stir frying vegetables are also a great way to prepare vegetables and cook up very quickly.
- Keep trying different fruits and vegetables until you have found several your child will eat. Don’t give up! Children tend to eat veggies and dip, so keep some handy in the refrigerator.
- Finally, the most important way to get your kids to eat veggies is to eat them yourself. Eating lots of vegetables as part of your family’s lifestyle will produce children who are vegetable eaters; likewise, if you don’t incorporate them into your own diet, you can’t really expect that your kids will want to eat them.
Apple and orange juice
- 2 apples
- 2 oranges
Juice the apples. Mix with orange juice squeezed using a traditional, non-electric hand juicer — the kind where you halve an orange or lemon and place it on and squeeze. Citrus fruits are not meant to be juiced in some juicers but will easily yield their own juice. If your juicer can tolerate citrus fruits, juice away! Mix together and serve. Makes approximately 1 8oz serving. This is a good juice for beginners because it has common, beloved ingredients. Another easy variation: juice 2 carrots instead of the apples for mixing with the orange juice.
Carrot Pear Orange
- 2 carrots
- 1 pear
- 1 orange
Juice the carrots and pear in the juicer. Juice the orange using a traditional, non-electric hand juicer unless your juicer can handle citrus fruits. Combine and mix well.