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How to get Kids to Eat Vegetables

why vegies are important

A vegetable-rich diet protects against cancer, heart disease and many other degenerative conditions. While these are commonly considered “diseases of adulthood,” they actually take decades to develop, so getting early protection in childhood is vitally important.

Kids need five or more servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. A suitable serving for them is approximately the size of their handful.

5 ways to get kids eating

1. Set a good example—The “do as I do” approach is more powerful than “do as I say.” One US study of 5-year-old girls found that vegetable intake was higher among those whose parents also ate more vegetables.

2. Don’t use dessert as a reward— Trying to bribe them with “something nice” they can eat afterward is the worst thing you can do, as it will further reinforce their belief that vegetables are horrible things. Better, non-food rewards include a story or a trip to the park.

3. Involve your children more—Get them to choose, peel, chop, taste and help you grow vegetables as often as possible and appropriate. Familiarity and direct contact with new foods is needed to create interest and acceptance.

4. Offer new foods many times— Research shows kids may have to be exposed to new flavours and foods at least eight times before they will accept them. So don’t give up after the third of fourth rejection!

5. Sneak in the goodness—While you are training the “die hards,” add finely grated, cubed or pureed vegies to bolognaise or nacho sauce, lasagna, curries and smooth soups.

Click here for a vegie-ful dish that’s a hit with kids!

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