How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

As every loving parent knows, there is a fine line between cajoling and threatening your children in order to get them to eat their vegetables. Establishing healthy eating habits while they are young is one of the best things you can do for your children.One in three children in the U.S. is obese. That places children at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and increased risk for developing hypertension and cardiovascular diseases later in life. Emphasizing a wide variety of foods at every meal will go a long way in helping your children develop a healthy way of eating that will serve them their whole lives.

Set an example. Children will not eat their vegetables if you don’t. Bring your children grocery shopping with you and allow them to choose vegetables they like. Encourage them to select those that are brightly-colored and explain why. Richly hued vegetables are rich in vitamins A, C, iron and insoluble fiber.

Teach your children how to cook. If your child is old enough to help in preparing meals, allow him to select two vegetables for every dinner, for example, that he will help prepare and eat. This may be simply scrubbing new potatoes and washing baby carrots. Participating in the cooking will give him a reason to at least taste test his work.

Make variety important. No one wants to eat broccoli every day. Changing it up is key to keep your children consistently eating vegetables. The new food pyramid developed by the USDA recommends two cups of vegetables a day for adults. Children can do well with a cup and a half.

Provide small children with nutrition lessons. While you still have their attention, actively teach your kids why eating carrots is “good” for them. Explain that betacarotene is important for eye health. Dark leafy greens have vitamins A, C and calcium for bone growth.

Give teens choices. Older children will be more set in their ways, but don’t give up the fight. Still set out tossed salads and ask your teens to whip up a salad dressing of their liking.