Monday, April 15, 2013

Kids Vs. Veggies

If you have children and you've tried to serve them vegetables you know that it can be a very frustrating thing. I have children, half a dozen of them, and have tried to serve them lots of veggies, and I know how hard it can be to help your kids eat healthy.

By no means am I some sort of wizard with kids and veggies, but I have learned some stuff to help kids  eat better and to eat their veggies.

Trick #1-Relax! This is my husband's favorite word, but it couldn't be more true. Relax about your kids and their eating. If you make it a power struggle to get your kids to eat healthy then no one will be happy.

Trick #2-Give your kids options instead of demands. For instance, say for dinner I made chicken with sweet potatoes and a salad, then my kids have the option to choose how they want the side dishes. They can choose one of each or they can choose a double portion of sweet potatoes, or a double portion of the salad. They don't feel like they're getting bullied into eating something they hate and they don't develop negative feelings about good food.

Trick #3-Allow natural consequences with food. If you have a stubborn kid who still refuses to eat their veggies even though you are relaxed and they have different options, then allow natural consequences to happen. In our home if you don't eat your dinner you don't eat until breakfast. No one gets mad or tries to force the kids to eat it, they just understand what will happen if they don't. Years ago one of our kids decided to starve themselves at dinner time, so we had to change up the rule for this child. If the child didn't eat their dinner, they got to eat it for breakfast. She only had to do it once and decided it was better to eat her veggies warm instead of cold soggy veggies the next day.

Trick #4-Allow your kids to be a part of the dinner process. Have them help pick out the meals, cut the veggies or anything that makes them feel ownership of the meal. When it's their idea it's much more appealing to eat it.

Trick #5-Don't bribe your kids with dessert to eat veggies. Better yet, quit serving dessert. Make enough food so that if they're still hungry they can fill up on good food instead of telling them if you take three bites you can have ice cream. If they're not hungry enough for seconds of real food, then they're not hungry enough for dessert.

Trick #6-When going out or to a party relax and let your kids pick what they want to eat. This allows for some great teaching opportunities. A couple of weeks ago I took my kids out to eat. We were out for the day and didn't have a lot of options, so we ended up eating at McDonald's (just a side note, I didn't eat at McDonald's; just thinking of their food makes me sick). After we ate there we were driving away and all my kids complained about their bellies hurting. We had a great talk about how the food isn't real, how there are a lot of  preservatives and junk they throw into their food, and that is why they weren't feeling well.

And finally trick #7-Get rid of the junk food in your house. Veggies don't taste as good when you're eating junk food. But once all that fake food is out of your system veggies start to taste better and they become much more appealing to eat.

No comments:

Post a Comment