Lucy’s 10 tips in helping your children become excited about eating fruit and vegetables
1. Don’t force a child to eat a meal that they don’t like. This will make them like it even less! Instead, take the time to talk about and explore the components of the meal away from the table.
2. Prepare a child for what’s to come on their plate. Children are suspicious if they don’t know what they’re eating; even if they are told how good it is for them.
3. Never ask a child to eat, try or taste anything. Get them to explore the food by asking them to kiss, lick or crunch it instead. You are not tricking your child, merely asking them to engage with food in a more interesting way. If you ask your children who can do the loudest crunch in their celery they are more likely to bite it and see, than if you say “here try some celery it’s really good for you!”
5. Let them help you cook and be really involved.
6. Get a little messy. Let them squash a tomato or squeeze an orange while you are cooking.
7. A good way to explore vegetables that are disliked is to explore them raw and cooked. Many children do not enjoy the pungent smell of cauliflower, especially if overcooked, but small crunchy raw florets with hummus or a dip are delicious and very palatable.
8. If you’re weaning your baby, a baby’s taste buds develop and change at an alarming rate and are most receptive between the ages of 7 and 12 months. Keeping a baby’s food bland for too long can result in shocked reactions to stronger flavours.
9. For children over three years introduce reward charts for enjoying five a day. Younger children will enjoy an immediate reward of a sticker on their top for participating. You can download a free chart from the Taste for Life website www.tasteforlifenursery.com
10. CHILDREN AND BABIES ARE GREAT IMITATORS, SO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE!
What are some of the cards you pull out at dinner times when the kids are fussy?
Do you think these techniques will come in handy?