Time to get out the smug face. And yes, that title really is true. I just made tea for my kids, and they wanted sliced carrot in a bread roll. One with ham and one without. It’s all not just down to the “eating your greens” behavior charts, though that probably helped when they were younger. We have done a lot of groundwork to stop me from having fussy eating children. Here are my 11 top tips for getting the kids into veg from an early age:
- Vegetable and fruit puree fun; we used veg and fruit early in their diets. It’s easy to focus in the fruit as babies love that sweet taste, but introducing the flavour of veg early is a great help to getting home to exact things
- Finger foods galore; veg sticks ate brilliant as finger foods, great textures, and flavours – from carrot to cucumber, raw broccoli to great beans, we gave them the lot
- Educating early on the benefits of fruit and veg; my kids have been known to say to each other after they fall over, eat some salad, it’ll make you better” They both totally get the healthy eating thang, not that they don’t have sweet things, they do. They just also know the benefits of eating well
- Always having some at tea time; its always in their tea plate, in fact I can’t remember when we didn’t have it. They usually get a side serving of cucumber, lettuce, carrot, and pepper with their tea – whatever else they get
- Having crunchiness competitions; I know that sounds weird, but kids love the sound of their food. What’s really crunchy; raw veg! We used to have a competition to see who had the crunchiest lettuce, and my kids still do it occasionally now :-)
- Eating it myself a lot in front of them; this isn’t hard, we have it with every main meal, and I eat fruit with most lunches too. I have failed on the tomato front though, they don’t like it. And guess what, I don’t eat it either *oops*
- Food disguise; a sneaky mother’s way of getting fruit into the diet, we have even talked about it before on this blog. Mixing sweet and savoury is a good one, hence the courgette muffins in our previous post on fussy eaters. Alternatively, chop things up soooo small they would need a magnifying glass to recognise the mushroom and carrot cunningly hidden within!
- Dried fruit as a treat; we don’t tend to have sweets too much. And when we do, the kids aren’t actually that bothered by them. We still have chocolates left over from their Christmas stockings *better than mum.* We use dried fruit as a sweet treat. There are some great products on the market which give you some of our five a day in nice snack portions for the kids, so we use them. Do be careful of their teeth though. They still contain sugar, just the natural stuff, so teeth cleaning is still vital!
- The pudding rule; try it, or eat enough of it and you get the pudding, whether that’s a fun cake, or some fruit purée or yoghurt. Don’t bend the pudding rule, as they are on to you like a flash. Often they do ask what it is before the end of the first course, but its always, eat enough and you’ll find out!
- Fruit at tea BEFORE pudding; we have an extra course at teatime, adults and children alike. So before our pudding is always a portion of fruit which we try and vary from day to day
- Fruit is free; my kids can eat fruit whenever they want, breakfast, snack, after school, tea. Its always been that way. We call it “fruit is free”. My son has been known to chomp a banana in the bathroom while getting undressed! Just as long as we don’t drop the skin anywhere we shouldn’t….
The Yellow Days blog also has some great advice on fussy eating too, so pop on over there as well; some of her ideas and thoughts are similar to min, just said rather more eloquently, and with a lot prettier layout!
And if all else fails, get one of our personalised behavior charts :-)
How have you managed on the eating front? Would your two be happy with a carrot sandwich?
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