5 Simple Ways to Get Your Children and Teenagers to Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
We know that to eat more vegetables and fruits that contain certain vitamins and minerals will benefit us health-wise. But, in an era of instant gratification and fast foods, it may seem impossible to fit healthier food into your children’s meals. Particularly since there are so many foods prepared for those “on the go.” Too busy to make breakfast—stop here. No time to fix lunch—eat there. Hectic evening schedule—pop this in the microwave. The problem with most “on the go” meals is that they lack fruits and vegetables. I bet you did everything to steer your children in a healthy eating direction by getting them to eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily.
With the current situation though, it has become easier – at least at our home – to get more vegetables incorporated in our meals. I’m more for lowcarb vegetables (yes, there are those ones). And because we are allergic to most fruits (those with endocarp/core), we tend to eat mostly berries. Now, to increase your immune system thereby having a lower chance of getting sick these trying times, we recommend getting a vitamin and nutritional testing.
Vitamin and nutritional testing is where vitamin lab tests measure blood or urine levels of an individual. It measures various vitamins to diagnose vitamin deficiencies or the other way – an excess. If you haven’t yet, this is your chance – get 15% off on a nutritional testing with our code, click here.
Now, to up your game, here are 5 ways you can do at home to get your children and teenagers to eat more vegetables and fruits.
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Create a Rhyme
Help children remember to eat fruits and vegetables with rhymes. Poems and songs will grab your child’s attention and get them involved in making healthy food choices. Jennifer Fixman’s “Eat Some Fruit,” or “I Will Eat All My Vegetables,” for example, encourages children to eat fruit and vegetables because the foods are good for them.
While this may not be for teenagers anymore, it pays to play some with your younger kids. As for the older kids, making them read on the benefits of having veggies and fruits in a diet will motivate them.
Give Them Credit
Make a poster and put your child’s name on it. In our case, we have this photo printed to remind us. Divide the poster into two columns. Put the name of fruits and vegetables in the first column and leave a space for stars in the second column. Each time your child tries a fruit or vegetable, give them a star. And every time they eat that food give them another star. Suddenly, you will find your child trying new foods just to get the star.
Balance out some sweets for the teeners in this area, or treat them to a favorite dessert once in a while.
Let Them Help
Children love to help their parents. Why not let them help with the menu? Involving children in meal planning, grocery shopping and food preparation empowers them to choose foods wisely. It also allows you to introduce new fruits and vegetables alongside foods your child already loves. During the meal planning phase, for example, let your child pick the fruits to eat and you choose the vegetables to try.
There will come a point in a teenager’s life where he or she would realize what he wants to do – my son for example expressed how he would like to be a chef someday. Invest in this kind of thoughts, let them help around the kitchen.
My daughter enjoys baking, and she loves cheesecakes. So I make sure there are ingredients at home she can use when she suddenly felt like baking.
Get Upclose and Personal
Develop your garden like a true country girl or make an indoor herb and veggie garden. Take kids to the farmer’s market or visit a farm. Children are more apt to try fruits and veggies when they experience nature at work. They find it fascinating to nurture plants and watch them grow into edible delights. They begin to appreciate the work involved in producing nutritious foods.
Sneak It, Dip It or Cover It Up
When all else fails, get creative. Studies show that children need to try a new food several times before they like it. Use cookie cutters to cut vegetables into your child’s favorite shape. Sneak fruit into a bowl of cereal or make a smoothie. Dip celery and carrots in peanut butter or a yogurt mixture. Cover broccoli and cauliflower with cheese or ranch dressing.
As for healthy cakes and such – you can always try a zucchini muffin, or almond cupcake without the sugar!
In variety, you do find a lot that you will like. Here are 100 healthy ideas for you to try.
Get Your Children and Teenagers to Eat More Vegetables and Fruits Smartly
A final note: According to the British Heart Foundation one out of three children is obese. At the very least, obesity can lead to low self-esteem. At its worst, it can cause high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. In contrast, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that children who participated in nutrition classes ate more wholesome, healthier meals compared to those who did not. The lesson here is to sow the seeds of 5-a-day eating now to prevent the complications that may come from developing unhealthy eating habits later.
Fitness freak, self confessed geek, and also food lover (healthy, most of the time!). Matt helps run the UK’s specialist Fight Equipment and MMA retailer, Havoc Store.