Let’s face it: Lots of kids hate vegetables. But parents of a fussy eater need not feel alone in the struggle to get kids to eat healthy.
There are different schools of thought regarding healthy eating for kids. Some health experts disdain the approach of sneaking vegetables into foods, because they feel it does not encourage a positive relationship with vegetables. Others – parents mostly – feel fed up and frustrated and turn to “sneaking” as a last resort. Trickery works with housework, why not with eating habits too?
There’s nothing to say you can’t use both approaches to deal with a fussy eater, though. Have an open dialog with your kids about vegetables and other healthy foods, while sneaking veggies in here and there to ensure they meet daily serving requirements.
Kids require from one to three cups of vegetables (ditto for fruits) per day, depending on age. A 2-year-old would need one cup.
Communicating with Kids
"Nutritionist to the Stars" Dr. Oz Garcia says "Kids tend to not like certain foods because their palettes haven’t evolved yet. The earlier a parent implements vegetables into their children’s diets, the earlier the child will learn to like these foods. Experimentation is key. If a child doesn’t like broccoli initially, give him or her carrots. If he doesn’t like carrots, give him green beans. Another great way to experiment with vegetables is by finding different ways to cook them. If your kid doesn’t enjoy veggies raw in a salad, they might like it pureed or in a stir-fry."
Kathy Wright, Certified Nutritional Consultant, educator, author of Your Health in Your Hands and mother of five says, “Cooking with children and getting them involved in the effort to get the family eating healthier is the best approach. I don’t like hiding vegetables in dishes and tricking the kids. This is never a good way to establish trust.