There isn’t much admiration between kids and vegetables. Strike that. It may be that vegetables do admire kids, but that feeling is (mostly) not mutual. I wrote “mostly” because I know your kids happen to LOVE veggies. This post isn’t for YOU then.
But for most of us, regular folks, this is a daily struggle. Get them to eat something raw and green (or red or yellow). They just don’t like IT.
What is it? I ask the many kids I meet. Why don’t you like vegetables? They come up with many answers. It is too: fresh, juicy, crunchy, seedy, wet, dry, messy, and just plain yucky.
I have to say: I have yet to crack the code. But over the years, I have amassed a few tricks that you should try on your own kids. Now, I need you to understand that this post is not going to suggest you travel to an organic farm 5 hours away from where you live. Nor is it going to tell you to cook with your kids every night, engage them in complicated food prep or make them Google up “benefits of eating vegetables”. NO. I also do not believe that you need to work on complicated recipes or go through extreme measures and try to sneak vegetables into recipes. I think that tactic is just too time consuming and cannot be sustained for long.
What I am suggesting is very simple. Pick one or two vegetables. My favorites are cucumbers and tomatoes. I pick the smaller ones as I find that those are less intimidating (smaller people require smaller food – does make sense!). Prepare dinner as you normally would. Plate it all the same. Place the small vegetables on a little plate and put it on the table. Your kids is most likely going to ignore it. Pretending it is not there. Now, pick one small tomato and eat it. I am hoping you’re a vegetable fan … Your child, no matter what age she is, will get upset because you just ate something of hers. Pick another vegetable from the plate and eat it as well. Now you got your child’s attention. Ask them to finish what’s left on the plate, or else you will… Repeat until eating those veggies becomes a habit.
If this does not work for your family, try this: have a vegetable plate (I prefer raw, as this is the easiest) at the center of the table, whenever your family is sitting down for a meal. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, same difference. Vegetables should always be present. There is minimum prep time, as all you need to do is just wash them and put on a plate. While eating, casually pop a few in. The kids will take notice. Some will be tempted to try. Casually mention how much you enjoy eating vegetables, and how good it does your body. The kids may not listen but some of it will sink in. That is the tactic that worked magic on my own kids (ages 13 and 9). It has worked so well that not a day goes by without them eating some veggies. On days that the plate is missing from the table, they ask of its whereabouts ! MAGIC!
There is a third tactic, that you should pull out of your hat, in case the other two don’t work. Scare tactic. I know, I know, you’re not a big fan. Me neither. But sometimes you have to use it. Do it smartly, though. Don’t go with: “not eating vegetables will make you sick” or any of those. Instead, use the reverse method: Positive Scare. Say something like: “I don’t know what happens to someone who doesn’t eat vegetables, but let’s not find out, we may not like it…”
Well, these are my three little tricks. They may work on some kids, may not work on others, but are definitely worth a try because let’s face it: eating vegetables is important!