6 Tips for Encouraging Kids to Love Vegetables Early On
We ask a nutritional therapist for thoughts on how to help your children have a healthy relationship with veg
9 July 2019
All Credits: PA
Weaning can seem like an impossible task, and frazzled parents understandably often turn to the ease of things like fruit pouches. Even as your child gets a bit older, it might seem like the easiest way to help them get their five-a-day.
However, experts are urging parents to expose their young children to a wide range of vegetables instead. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has voiced concerns over the amount of sugar young children are eating.
They say there is too much of an emphasis on sweet foods in pouches and jars, and that parents are leaning towards pureed fruits when weaning their babies. It’s not just added sugar that’s concerning, but also natural sugars in honey and fruit juices.
Professor Mary Fewtrell, the RCPCH’s nutrition lead, says: “We’re not saying that babies shouldn’t have fruit – it’s just about balance. Introducing vegetables that are less sweet, such as broccoli and spinach, helps babies develop a more varied palate, so they are more likely to enjoy a balanced diet as they get older.”
Fresh, whole fruit is also preferable to that which has been pureed.
We asked nutritional therapist Shivani Rajdev for her tips on how you can encourage your child to have a positive relationship with vegetables early on.
“Don’t worry if they don’t like a particular fruit or vegetable the first time around or even just refuse to eat any. It can take up to 10 attempts for them to start enjoying a particular food. Encouragement and praise is key, even if they only manage a bite or two.”
6. Lead by example
“Children learn by example and ultimately this boils down to parents setting a good example through their diets. Watching parents incorporate a variety of vegetables into their diets encourages children to make similar choices.”