How to boost your child’s veggie intake!
Encouraging your kids to eat more vegetables can be a tiresome and frustrating task. However, it is vital that we persist in order to give them the best nutrients and plenty of antioxidants so they grow healthy and strong. The best advice for parents is to be positive role models, try new recipes and be as patient as we can. When children are served a variety of vegetables each day (and see their parents enjoy them), then they are more likely to keep eating vegetables as they grow older.
5 helpful tips to get your kids eating more green vegetables
1. Hide them
Provide low-fat dip or dressing, such as homemade avocado dip or hummus, for dipping fresh vegetables. Serve a variety of different veggies such a cucumber, carrot and green bell pepper strips for them to chose from
Add more green vegetables to casserole dishes
Prepare vegetable-based soups or try out Pacific Organic soup range
Throw pureed vegetables into casseroles or soups. For younger kids, try serving a vegetable puree, such as broccoli or peas, as-is or mixed in with their favorite food
2. Make it fun
Serve "Ants on a Log:" spread our tasty NZ Pics peanut butter onto celery sticks and top with raisins; your child may also dip cucumber sticks or baby carrots in peanut butter
Make a vegetable pizza and pile on the veggies such as bell peppers, spinach, fresh herbs as well as onions, tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms
Prepare a green salad with other vegetables you've never used before, such as sweet corn or whole kidney or sweet beetroot. Add fresh fruit, cheese, or unsalted nuts to make it tastier and top it off with your child's favorite salad dressing
3. Be creative - try something different
Some kids prefer raw vegetables over cooked, but your child may be the opposite. Create a colourful platter with some mashed avocado or hummus dip to try
Don't be afraid to experiment. Serve a vegetable that you've never served before or prepare a vegetable differently than you have in the past
Make vegetables interesting by serving them shredded or cut into long strips. Mix shredded cucumber or cooked broccoli into applesauce for young children or mix in with mashed potatoes with some grated cheese
4. Get the kids cooking!
Get the kids involved when you are cooking. It may start with washing the vegetables, stirring the dish and if they are older help cut the veggies under your supervision. It’s a nice way to educate them about healthy nutrition and the importance of good quality food. And they will be excited to try what they have helped prepare!
5. Don't give up
A child may need to be exposed to a certain food 10 to 15 times before they will actually eat it. Continue to offer a variety of vegetables even if your child refuses to eat them. Don’t give up !
Here's an easy way to make eating veggies fun!
8 cherry tomatoes
8 button mushrooms
1 courgette, cut in chunks
1 corn cob, sliced into 4 pieces
5 tablespoons balsamic drizzle
Thread the vegetables onto skewers.
Brush with drizzle and cook until tender.
You can mix it up by adding other green vegetables to the skewers, be creative and try something new each week!
References: HealthCastle Nutrition Inc: www.healthcastle.com The healthy food guide, New Zealand: www.healthyfood.co.nz
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