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Get Kids to Eat Vegetables

Tuesday night, I caught a twitter chat on how to get kids to eat vegetables, #foodrevparty, by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Kia Robertson from Today I Ate a Rainbow hosted (led) the chat and asked great questions.

My favorite question was what veggies people didn’t like as kids that they eat and like now. Here’s what Kia had to say about that:

I wanted them [people, adults] to think of what it might take for them to try vegetables they didn’t like to SHOW them what it might be like for their kids so that they can take those creative ideas and use them with their kids. Sometimes adults with broader taste buds forget what it can be like for little ones trying new things

Great point! I didn’t like eggplants or okra as a child. Now I love them.

It takes multiple exposures before children try new foods. Before you read the tips below, download this free chart from Kia’s website to help you track—in a fun way—how many times your child tries a new vegetable.

Get your kids to eat vegetables:

All agree that you have to get your kids involved. Anything from growing a garden, to taking them grocery shopping, to washing, peeling, and prepping helps familiarize the kids with the veggies on their plates. Offering in a variety of textures and temperatures, with good presentation, and MULTIPLE times is a must. Get emotions off the table—don’t get angry! —and avoid bribing.

Here are my favorite tweets:

  • @SpectrumSpeech: Bribing makes child not trust you as feeder, so EXPOSURE is the key
  • @SpectrumSpeech make up NEW FOOD games. Encouraging kids to make up game about trying new food
  • @DrGreene: Kids are born able to learn to enjoy human foods. They learn food preferences like they learn language.
  • @LBVStyle: constant flow diff veggies, puréed, juiced, diced. Babies acquire tastes. Don’t give up
  • @patriciachuey: Julienne onions, carrots, zucchini into long, thin strips. Pass off as noodles – one of kids fave foods!
  • @rnbowplate: The best thing to do is to NOT get emotional if kids refuse!
  • @RnbowPlate You need to try that unpopular veg in a totally new way…Bad taste memories last long!
  • @Health_Bean: make it like a game. Put a variety out and let them pick and choose. See what comes about!
  • @onsgear not stress, tastes change over time, eventually our kids will be grown and eat all their veggies 🙂
  • @patriciachuey: Use crinkle cutter for raw veg sticks or coarsely grate like cheese, fun to eat.
  • @heatherlike: Slicing up into fun shapes & serving with dip…making a counting game with them…making faces with them!
  • @onsgear: Serve veggies as snacks, not just meals
  • @RnbowPlate: Give kids raw asparagus spears & dip and let them “paint” a picture on the plate, then eat the “paintbrush!”
  • @EatcleanerFood Serve them in individual cups. Kids like their own portions
  • @eatingarainbow: Juicing them. In smoothies, adding purees to main dishes, baking them into chips!
  • @yonahsheart: Veggies on a kabob are a fun way to eat them!
  • @onsgear Serve veggies in a wrap, held by a cute Wrap Trap (http://t.co/dmBquvTM), they’ll love the animal shape!
  • @onsgear: Don’t ask if they want some, just give it to them, put it on their plate. If you ask, option is there to say no.
  • @MomMadeFoods A lot of patience and MANY exposures to a new food.
  • @EatcleanerFood Serve veggies w/ a fun dipping sauce. Hummus, white bean dip, salsa, vinaigrette-they love to dunk!
  • @Techtembo888 have someone they worship (like a role model) eat it also & they’ll want to copy
  • @i__amm: Feed them when they are hungry!
  • @Movables: when i take them 2 grocery I tell them they MUST pick 1 for their lunches & it can’t be same as last wks
  • @OutoftheBoxFood: not making a huge deal or forcing it. That’s what’s on the plate & everyone tries it…& again…
  • @JTFinkelstein: Start a garden – can teach them about science/nature & have them try new veggies all in one
  • @patriciachuey: Put in a brown bag. Have kids smell, feel+try to guess what it is. Create mystery+desire to try
  • @SleegsSkees Truly making sure the adults at the table try it & enjoy/play it up
  • @onsgear I just read yesterday how boys start to “follow” / “mimic” their dads at age 4… let’s capitalize on that!!!
  • @BoulderJulie: I’ll eat anything as long as my daughter is looking and I want her to eat it too 😉
  • @Health_Bean: throwing it into a soup is always a good bet too.
  • @i__amm Experimenting with new recipes, spices, herbs is not only fun but it can also change the way you think of certain vegetables.
  • @RnbowPlate You need to try that unpopular veg in a totally new way. Now we see how the kids feel. Bad taste memories last long!
  • @EatcleanerFood: we need to stop villifying veggies!
  • @marygkosta Start early! After weaning from breastfeeding, more homemade pureed food and more variety leads to less picky eaters later
  • @tampamama I always tell me kids “You like my cooking, right? Mommy doesn’t cook food that’s yucky. Just try it! “. Works every time!

And my tweet:

  • @nourrd: I offer new veggies in their school lunchbox. Hungry child + zero access to full pantry/fridge=they’ll eat it 🙂

And the most important of all!

The next chat is Tues March 27 at 4PT/7ET. I’ll be there. Come join the conversation.

Is there a vegetable that you didn’t like as a child that you love now? How do you encourage your kids to eat more vegetables?

 

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