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Monday, March 2, 2015

Kids and Veggies Don't Have to be Mutually Exclusive Terms

93% of kids don't get the recommended amount of daily fruits and veggies. Come to think of it, adults fare slightly better. So how does one encourage your kid to eat more vegetables without resorting to sneaking them into foods. I'm not a fan of deceptive feeding techniques because trust is a fragile thing and you don't want to risk damaging the trust your child has in you or in food. So here are a few up-front tips to up veggie intake at your house:

  1. Take your kids shopping. Let them explore around the produce department and choose a vegetable to try that week. 
  2. Involve kids in cooking and preparation.  Whether it is just using the can opener, heating something in the microwave or garnishing with a little parsley, getting kids involved in the preparation makes them fell more invested in food and more willing to try it.  
  3. Be aware or preferences.  Just because they don't like string beans from a can doesn't mean they won't like them raw of freshly steamed.  Often food preferences are more about texture than flavor, so try raw, cooked and even frozen versions.  (My daughter loves peas, but only frozen or fresh in the pod).
  4. Be creative.  A cookie cutter makes turnips magical.  A simple "N" cut transforms broccoli stalk into entrancing eats.  Even offering your child a whole carrot - top and all - is more fun than the usual baby-carrots.  
  5. Be the example.  Nothing replaces the influences of your own parental example.  How many veggies do you eat every day?  How many do you serve at dinner each night?  When they consistently see you with half of your plate filled with veggies, that counts much more than any other gimmick.  

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