Help! My Kids Won't Eat Enough Vegetables and Fruits

boy holding his nose to eat an artichoke

The best advice is not to pressure, coax, bribe or reward your child to eat vegetables and fruit. Why? For some children, pressuring them to eat can really sour the mealtime experience. They may even lose interest in eating as a result.  Consider these tips:

Have fun with food

No, we're not talking about a food fight, we're talking cooking. Children can touch, smell even mush food while they are cooking. Whether they eat it or not, that zucchini doesn't seem so foreign after they've helped to prepare it. Reading books about food, going grocery shopping or visiting a pick-your-own farm also helps.

Serve food family style

Serve food family-style in bowls or platters in the centre of the table where children can help themselves or request what they want.

Introduce a new vegetable or fruit with a familiar one

Continually introduce new vegetables and fruit when your children are young and there is a better chance they'll be open to trying it later. Take the pressure off trying a new food by serving it alongside some familiar veggies and fruits.

Try and try again

Most children need to be introduced to a new food more than 10 times before they will try it. So don't give up on any vegetable or fruit.

Practice what you preach

Without feeling guilty, some of us have to face the facts. Many adults don't eat the minimum recommended serving of vegetables and fruit each day. If time is an issue, skip cooking the vegetables and serve them raw with a lower fat, creamy salad dressing as a dip. Kids like them better that way anyhow. Use frozen vegetables or fruits. There is no washing, chopping or wilting!

Keep it interesting

Change things up during the year by taking advantage of the vegetables and fruit in season. During the winter months, frozen vegetables and fruit tend to be a better buy and they are just as nutritious as fresh. Try experimenting with one new vegetable or fruit a month.

Check out 10 easy, kid-friendly ideas for serving veggies and fruitexternal link

Source:  EatRight Ontario external link

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