March 21, 2019
Growing up I had no idea how things made it from the stove to the table. Nor did I know where the food came from, I assumed grocery stores were the place everyone had to go to get their food. Now as a mom of 2, Elia (4 y/o) and Tobias (almost 2 y/o) I am happy to say that they have made the connection of farm to table! Over the past two years, I have learned a lot when it comes to food and nutrition and I made it my mission to teach my children too. Far too often we see children eating foods that we know are unhealthy, processed and contain very little in the way of nutrients. This is why I am so passionate about ensuring my kids also know the difference between real food and packaged treats. If done properly kids will eat almost anything you provide them; yes even kale and broccoli (which is our household favourite!).
So, what did I do to ensure my kids weren’t picky eaters?
Here are 4 easy tips to get your children eating foods full of nutrients and vitamins that are crucial for their learning and development.
How To Get Your Kids To Eat Their Veggies
Be the Example
Eat with your kids and eat what they are eating. There is nothing worse than making 2 separate meals, one for your kids and one for yourself. So why do it? Children learn by example so be the example!
Get Them Involved
Ask them to bake or cook with you! Yes, it may take a little longer but that is okay because the bonding time is beneficial for both mom and child plus they will learn so much when it comes to how their meals and snacks are made. Knowing that food takes time to prepare and cook is important to teach children so that they don’t expect food to magically appear whenever they are hungry. This also teaches them that pre-made, packaged items are not the norm and should be consumed in moderation as a treat.
Explain What They Are Eating and Why
Seems pretty simple but I promise you this works. When your child is eating a carrot, explain to him/her that the carrot is a vegetable that contains really important vitamins like Vitamin A and C. Then continue to explain that Vitamin A is absolutely essential for our bodies to function properly and will help their eyes develop properly. Explain that Vitamin C is also key to help heal their skinned knee they got earlier when they fell off the swing. Go on to mention that it also helps prevent them from getting sick and that eating vegetables help them grow big and strong like mommy and daddy. Kids emulate their parents so let them know what we are eating and why it will entice them to eat it too!
*If you find yourself drawing a blank on what nutritional value a food contains, Google is the quickest, easiest way to search for some answers!
Take Them Shopping
Allow them to go shopping with you even if it means it takes a little longer. By doing so, they will see where their food is coming from. As a shop local advocate, we hit our local farms and farmer’s market as often as possible for our fresh produce. The kids love coming with us, chatting with the farmer and learning what they can about the process of growing food. They also love seeing the cows grazing on grass in the pasture, the chickens running around free and petting the pigs in the pen. It is important to help them make the connection between animals at the farm and the meat on their plate too. When you’re at the store with them, remind them where their food originally comes from so they remember that a farmer had to work long and hard to get it onto the grocery store shelves for us to purchase and bring home.
At the end of the day, kids are no different than adults when it comes to healthy eating. Of course, we all love the taste of that Big Mac at McDonald’s but we also know that it isn’t beneficial for our bodies. Explaining the difference between healthy and unhealthy food is an important aspect of getting your children to eat their veggies. If they know all the benefits of eating a carrot over a Big Mac that may hurt their tummies and has no beneficial nutrients, they will want to choose the carrot more often than not. I know it sounds crazy, but if you follow the 4 tips above and continue to do it on a regular basis, your children will absolutely evolve into a veggie loving kid!