3 simple tips for busy moms and dads to get your children to eat vegetables

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 18 February 2020

Is getting your child to eat vegetables one of your greatest challenges as a parent?

Most parents know even the most basic nutritional recommendations, like the Canada Food Guide, advise 6-8 servings of veggies a day, but they are coming up short on a consistent basis.

Don't know where to start to change this?

Here are three simple tips to help you get more veggies on your child's plate:

  1. When eating a new veggie, put two familiar foods with it, on the plate. We are all more tentative trying something new. When it comes to food, giving a child a familiar taste & texture allows them to step outside their comfort zone with less risk. As with other new things they may try, like biking, or swimming, you start slowly with training wheels and water wings. Why should trying new food be any different?
  2. Add a little salt and healthy fat to the veggie, and if your child is more adventurous, spices. Salt and fat is what makes food taste better. How much do you enjoy plain, boiled broccoli? Why do you expect their taste buds to be any different? Now try that same broccoli with butter, salt & a little bit of nutritional yeast (vegan ingredient that makes things taste cheesy) and that's a whole different story. I myself never liked brussel sprouts until well into adulthood because of the way I had them prepared for me. Now I use coconut oil and harissa spice and it's one of my favourite side dishes!
  3. Give them the same veggie three days in a row. Your child's taste buds (and maybe even yours) need repeated exposures before a veggie gets on the yes list. It's much to easy to label a food as a dislike after one taste and go back to what is familiar. Especially when those foods are hyper-palatable, processed foods that hijack a child's taste buds.

Now I would love to hear from you! What is one tip you can give other parents with regards to healthy eating for their kids? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

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