How to Get Kids to Love Vegetables |

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

Posted on

9 July 2019

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6 Tips for Encouraging Kids to Love Vegetables Early On

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.

6 Tips for Encouraging Kids to Love Vegetables Early On

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.

SEE ALSO: This Is The Best Feeding Schedule For Toddlers, According To Experts

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.

1. Incorporate them into your meals

“An easy way to achieve a good intake of vegetables is to incorporate them into existing meals. An example may be to have a plate of vegetable sticks to go with their lunch or dinner. If you are short of time, why not incorporate the vegetables into your main dish such as a pasta sauce filled with a range of vegetables.”

2. Persevere

“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.”

3. Speak to your kids

“A lot of children don’t understand why they need to eat fruit and vegetables. As parents, talking to them about their benefits is a great way for them to understand the importance of getting these into their diet. We all eat with our eyes and using the colours of the vegetables can be a good way to encourage variety. An example of this could be to discuss what colours of the rainbow they would like eat today.”

4. Empower them

“Letting your children choose what they want to eat will encourage healthy choices outside of the home. For example, which vegetables they may like in their salad or which vegetable toppings they would like on their pizza.”

5. Make it fun

“It’s easy for children to get into the mindset that vegetables are boring. Mixing it up can make it fun. Examples can be to use up produce in the house to make healthy smoothies or having vegetable sticks to dip in hummus. With summer coming up, why not make a trip to a local farm or a farmers market so that the children can pick their own produce and make something from it at home?”

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.”