If you’re a parent, this is all too familiar. The eye rolls. The gagging sounds. The battles of wills where your child is still sitting at the table at bedtime glaring at the miniscule dab of sweet potato on their plate.
I know it. The struggle is real. (If your kid cheerfully eats salad and green beans and beets, keep it to yourself right now.) Today I’m really motivated to write about kids and diet. I found an interesting article with tips for getting kids to eat veggies.
Conventional mom wisdom suggests that kids like bland foods, right? Chicken nuggets, corn, naked hamburgers, macaroni and cheese? These are old stand-bys at the kids’ table and on children’s menus at restaurants.
What if this mom wisdom is actually wrong? What if kids, like adults, are more likely to enjoy food that actually has some taste?
There was a small research paper published that got 100 teenagers in rural Pennsylvania to taste-test plain vegetables compared to vegetables seasoned with different spices. The teenagers reported that they preferred the seasoned veggies over the plain ones.
This study has some limitations. For instance the kids chose whether to participate, so more adventurous kids might have been more likely to do the tasting. Also, it was funded in part by McCormick (the spice company).
But the beauty of this study is that it makes you think. As a parent, do we change how we cook when we have kids? (The resounding answer is YES.) I hear it all the time – parents who want and desperately need to lose weight are resistant to doing what it takes to improve their diet. They have to cook for their whole family, so they feel limited in their ability to add variety and be adventurous in different ways of cooking their foods.
What if this is based on a flawed premise that kids are little dictators and won’t EVER be willing to try new foods or established foods cooked in a different way? What if, especially if it’s started early, kids actually will enjoy the foods that YOU enjoy?
There is an interesting book that sheds some light on getting kids to eat veggies. It’s called “French Kids Eat Everything” by Karen Le Billon, and suggests that part of the blame for the childhood and adult obesity epidemic is due to bad parenting on our part.
French kids eat what their parents eat. No children’s menus, no separate meals, no catering to childhood food jags. They don’t snack between meals, in general. I highly recommend this book for anyone dealing with a picky eater.
After all, getting kids to eat veggies is only a small part of the overall parenting job of helping our kids develop a healthy and adventurous relationship with food. Food nourishes our bodies and keeps them healthy. But food is also a pleasure, a feast of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures.
If you’re looking for a shortcut with cramming veggies into your diet, Shaklee JUST introduced Organic Greens Booster. This new product provides one serving of green vegetables per scoop. I had my first green smoothie this morning in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and it was tasty made with vanilla Life Shake mix 🙂
Organic Greens Booster can be added to smoothies, soups, muffins and other foods to get extra nutrition support. Click this link to see more information!
Getting kids to eat veggies is tough, but these three things can help. Vary the tastes and don’t be afraid to add spices and seasonings. Start young by offering your kids the foods that you like, and be aware that cooking separate “kid meals” for them can backfire. Add ninja veggies to fruit smoothies, soups and other kid-friendly foods with products like Shaklee’s new Organic Greens Booster.
QUESTION: Do your kids like veggies? How do you get your kids to eat them?