How To Encourage Your Kids To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Eating your five-a-day of fruit and veg is an easy way to ensure you’re on track when it comes to following a healthy lifestyle. However, as adults, it’s much easier to handle this challenge – especially as we understand the importance of doing so.
After all, if you were to put a plate of vegetables and a plate of chicken tenders in front of any child – and their first choice will nearly always be the tenders. In fact, they may refuse to eat fruit and veg altogether, often turning their noses up when you place them in front of them.
However, as parents or grandparents, it’s important that you work to challenge this negative attitude to healthy eating -by finding ways to make eating fruit and veg more fun!
With that in mind, here are some top tips you can use to do exactly that.
Grow your own fruit & veg.
Growing your own fruit and veg could be a great way to encourage your children to eat more fruit and veg, as they’ll likely feel a sense of pride wherever you incorporate something they’ve grown into your recipes. Furthermore, this is also a great way to save money on groceries and spell time together outdoors.
Cook vegetarian meals.
For many, vegetables are a side dish that sits on the side of other more ‘exciting’ parts of the meal. This is part of the reason why children will try to avoid veg – often eating everything on their plate first before saying they’re full. You can combat this, however, by making vegetarian meals instead. This is a great way to make eating vegetables more fun, as they’ll soon see they’re packed with flavor! If you aren’t sure where to start, try these vegetarian dinner ideas.
Having your child or grandchild cook alongside you could also be a great way to encourage them to eat more fruits and veg, as it fills them once again with a sense of pride and accomplishment to see their hard work come together. You can also let them choose which recipes you try out!
Make breakfast smoothies.
Starting your day with a smoothie is a great way to ensure you’re on track for hitting your five-a-day while also giving you a much-needed energy boost. It’s also a relatively low-effort breakfast dish, as you don’t need to spend any time by the stove! Furthermore, smoothies are a little more visually appealing than a bowl of fruit; they can be a great way to encourage your kids to eat healthy, as they may not realize how much fruit they’re having!
In addition to smoothies, you may want to think of other fun ways in which you can serve fruit and veg. For example, using cookie cutters to create more ‘fun’-shaped fruit and veg could encourage them to reach for this snack over things such as chocolate and candy.
Don’t force them to eat something.
We’ve likely all got memories of our parents saying that we had to eat something we really didn’t want to eat – perhaps saying we can’t have dessert or play outside until we’ve eaten everything on our plate. However, this response will likely only cement their dislike of something, making them less likely to try other fruits and vegetables. Instead, you should be encouraging but not forceful.
If they’ve expressed a dislike for a specific fruit or veg, ask them what alternative they’d like instead. This way, they’re not skipping out on fruit and veg altogether and feel much more involved in the decision. Paying attention to their likes and dislikes also makes it easier to find recipes the whole family will love – as you won’t waste time cooking a delicious meal only for them to turn their noses up at it afterward.
In short, there are many ways in which you can encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables, including:
- Growing your own fruit and veg
- Cooking vegetarian meals
- Making breakfast smoothies
- Being encouraging, not forceful
However, instead of simply telling them that they must eat fruit and veg, you should also focus on letting them know why. For example, you should tell them that eating their five-a-day will help them grow big and strong, while also ensuring they have plenty of energy.
The more informed your children or grandchildren are, the more likely they are to take healthy eating seriously as they grow older. As such, the knowledge you share with them now could impact many aspects of their life as adults.