Have you ever found the perfect family dinner only to be thwarted by an unenthusiastic vegetable eater? While it can be challenging to get children of any age on board, it’s tough when you have picky toddlers or teenage siblings. The more vegetables they eat, the more health benefits they’ll reap.
But sometimes, it’s not easy to get them on board with their greens…
Why is it Important to Eat Vegetables?
Here are some other benefits you can reap from eating regular amounts of vegetables:
- They will provide you with the energy to get through your day without feeling tired or worn out.
- They will boost your immune system so that you don’t catch common illnesses like colds and cases of flu that way.
- They will help you maintain a healthy weight and pair with exercise to burn excess calories.
- They will keep you looking younger as they work with your antioxidants.
- They will help you look your best and stay away from wrinkles or fine lines by supporting cell growth.
- They can boost your mood and make you feel more joyful as they are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber that release an appropriate amount of serotonin and cortisol.
How can I Boost Vegetable Intake in my Family?
You need to make sure that the entire family understands the importance of vegetable servings when planning a meal. You also have to provide them with the resources they need to eat vegetables so it is easy and enjoyable for them.
- Know what your family likes, and don’t try to get them to eat anything they are unwilling to. Make vegetables more exciting and interesting. You may even try to use delivery services, but please learn the reviews first. Experiment with different seasonings and techniques to make vegetables more appealing.
- Make vegetables the main course. Fill as much of the plate with vegetables as you can without making the child feel overstuffed, if possible. You might also want to fill half of their plate with a meat-based entree and leave the other half for veggies.
- Give your children a chance to try new things, but let them choose how much or little they want to try. If they refuse it right away, let them taste it later or even try another day again until they decide if they like or dislike it.
- You can mix up the vegetables and make sure that each child gets their own choice of a vegetable. You might want to let them get one vegetable in each of the four food groups: fruits, veggies, proteins, and grains.
- Make things fun. Favorite foods can be part of a treat but are not everyday. Try incorporating fun ideas like serving a vegetable entree in a pretty dish with bright sides or using their forks to eat some vegetables instead of passing them on.
Tips to Encourage Your Family Members to Eat More Vegetables
Follow these simple tips to help get the whole family eating more vegetables:
- Serve veggies at the start of the meal. The longer veggies sit on a plate, the less flavorful they become. Offer them when guests arrive or first thing when you sit down to eat so they’ll be less likely to wither away.
- Mix them in with other foods. Let kids enjoy a little of what they love, along with their vegetables. Turn broccoli into a mini pizza by topping it with cheese and pepperoni, or add frozen peas to spaghetti sauce for a tasty twist on an old favorite.
- Cut them into fun shapes. Round carrots are tedious and hard to eat, but curved, scooped carrot sticks are more attractive. Bringing broccoli florets instead of broccoli spears and your kids immediately noticing the difference is a great way to introduce healthy alternatives.
- Make them easy to chew. Younger children may have trouble with certain vegetables because they’re hard to bite and chew. To get around this problem, puree some savory soups or other dishes that contain vegetables and serve them in muffin tins as veggie muffins.
- Serve them with other foods. When you serve green beans with steak and sautéed cauliflower on the side, your children will be more likely to eat their vegetables.
- Add them to a salad or soup. You can turn greens into a tasty salad by tossing them in vinaigrette, olive oil, or lemon juice. A fantastic way to use leftover greens is in pesto-filled pasta bowls or soup. Vegetables are often better when eaten together because their flavors blend well when added to other foods.
- Lessen the salt used on grilled or roasted veggies since most children prefer salty dishes over bland food.
- Keep it simple. Don’t try to jump on the new vegetable bandwagon with a lecture about how great vegetables are, and don’t offer them as a token gateway to more healthy eating. Instead, just sit down at the dinner table and enjoy a meal with everyone at the table, enjoying every bite of food on their plates – and don’t forget your child’s favorite vegetables in the mix!
- Fresh is best: Fresh produce is often tastier than canned or frozen versions. But fresh may be hard to find around the holidays because of heavy demand, so have it on hand year-round when it’s plentiful and frozen.
- Eat some fruits and veggies! This is the most important tip – if you eat fruits and vegetables, your children will as well.
Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are suitable for your health as well as your diet. They are essential for proper growth and development in children.
They can be very beneficial to the health of children and youth. There are many ways to encourage young people to eat more vegetables by making sure that they know what vegetables are, how important it is to their health, and how easy it is to get them into their diet.
Planning meals with the right amount of vegetables at each meal can also help young people learn how much they need in their diet.