1. Take a long hard look at the mirror
Before waging war on your child with broccoli, it's time to see what you eat. "If the trusted adult is eating the same food as them, they are more likely to try to eat them," says Sarah Almond Bushell, nutritionist for the Child Nutritionist. "Eating together as a family is therefore really helpful."
2. Do not camouflage vegetables at meals
It may be tempting to bring your child into a false sense of security by presenting her with vegetable nuggets or cauliflower puree, but this is not a recipe for long-term success. "You may have more vegetables inside your children, but what you want is for your child to have a healthy relationship with vegetable consumption," says Dan Parker, chief marketing officer of Veg Power, a crowdfunding organization that offers food. healthy and suitable for children. recipes from top chefs including Jamie Oliver. That said, pick your battles: your children are unlikely to respond positively to Brussels sprouts, so stick with tried and true favorites like peas and carrots in the early years.
3. Enjoy this journey together.
Don't try to give kids a nutrition lesson because they just don't care, Parker says. Instead, prepare the vegetables together and let them react on a sensory level: ask them about the smell of celery or the sound of it breaking. Give them a role to play in building a healthy relationship with vegetables. This can be as simple as letting them pick the pepper they want from the grocery store or even growing their own vegetables in the garden. "If they choose, prepare and cook, they are much more likely to eat," says Parker. Bushell also recommends serving in a community – where food is served in bowls in the middle of the table and everyone helps each other – as a good way to give the child a greater degree of control over what they are putting in the body.
4. They need to know what to expect.
Putting children in a routine can also increase the likelihood that they will want to eat vegetables when meal time comes. “If they know that every time they have a meal or snack, there will be some kind of fruit or vegetable, it decreases the level of worry and anxiety that may come when they come to the table to find that there may be food there. I don't like it, ”says Bushell.
5. Consider How You Reward Your Child
Your kids may have eaten a fair portion of green beans, but they haven't made it to McFlurry yet. As Parker reminds us, it's about thinking smartly about how we recognize good behavior. “Never reward with food. If you say they can eat a pudding if they eat their vegetables, you are glorifying the pudding and demonizing the vegetable. "