My kids will eat very few vegetables. How do I get them to eat more?
Most kids, especially young children, go through periods where they may become picky or cautious about food, especially unfamiliar foods. This can lead to refusing to eat new foods, eating only small tastes of foods, food “jags” where they will only eat one or a few foods for a period of time, or even rejecting previous favorite foods. Studies have shown that it may take trying a new food 8-10 times for your child to accept it. So, keep trying! But skip pressuring, as most kids will see through even sneaky pressure, such as bribes. Offer vegetables alongside favorite foods and encourage your kids to explore them with their senses, even if they don’t want to taste them yet.
The best way to promote eating veggies is by modeling that behavior for your kids. Eat and enjoy your own vegetables in front of them! Get your kids involved in the process by letting them help select recipes to try, including them in shopping for vegetables, letting them help prepare meals, and serving them vegetables at meal and snack times, even if they go untouched.
Lead by example, and your kids will assume “someday I will eat vegetables, too.” Visit www.ellynsatterinstitute.org for more information and childhood feeding resources.