Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peas and Thank you... Ten tips on getting your little ones to eat their veggies

     Ah, this can be every parents nightmare. Trying to get the little ones and sometimes older ones to eat their veggies.  Here are just a few things I have learned with my children.  I have they are 13, 7, 7, and 2 and for the most part they do pretty good with eating their fruits and veggies.  In fact the fruits are in most cases the easiest to accomplish!

1.  Start with infancy - When my children started on the baby foods instead of starting them on the fruits likes banana's and peaches I did the peas and carrots.  Once I had introduced the vegetables to my children and got them where they would eat them then I would introduce a fruit along with a veggie I knew they liked.  Kind of like when you eat supper you like a little chocolate cake for dessert, well that is how I started mine.

2.  Don't force it - Have the child to try it, if he/she don't like it move on.  I always put just a little on their plate every time and tell them to try it and if they don't like it they don't have to eat it.  Even I have some veggies I don't like but over time I have learned that I do like them, so I myself do as I teach my children and try different things in the hopes that I too will like them now!

3.  Add cheese - It may sound crazy, but this one really works.  I myself do not like cheese and it does not like me, we get along just fine like that!  However my children love it, so I try incorporate it into the veggies when they say they don't like a certain one like broccoli!  There are also other sauces you can get some more so healthy than others, that will allow you and your family a different taste.  Try and find out what your child likes and work the veggies in there, you will be amazed at the responses you get when it comes to supper after that.

4.  mix it - I don't eat broccoli myself but found that if I would make Stir Fry with broccoli, peas, carrots and other veggies both me an the kids like it.  My son even tells everybody that he likes it now but about the first three times I made it he would throw a temper tantrum. I was never a big fan of carrots as a child but I would eat them in a roast orstew beef.  I guess the beef flavored it so it made it better!

5.  Butter it and wrap it - I know it is full of trans fats and cholesterol but I love it!  I have found a rice with peas, carrots, and corn mixed in and my son would not eat it.  As soon as he found out I out salt and butter on it he decided he liked it.  I didn't ask alot of questions I just went with it to get him to eat it.  You can also get the pita wraps, choose your main meat for the meal, and set up several different veggies for the wrpas.  Allow your child depending on their age ofcourse, to fix their own wrap and pick their veggies.  This allows them so independance while in reality you still have control.

6.  Likes - Try to prepare at least one veggie you know your child will eat.  I think for  the most part children like corn on the cob, so make it!  Our family favorite at one time mashed potatoes, so I made them all the time!  I would try to add another veggie but atleast I could get them to eat something.

7.  Make it fun - If you have to make a game out of it, then do so.  If that is what it takes to get them to eat it is worth it.  Make designs with their food. 

8.  Snacks - Carrots with ranch dressing, or celery and peanutbutter!  These are a few favorites among children that if they don't or refuse to get their veggies any other way it works.  Some children will not eat a cooked veggie they prefer it raw so put it in a baggie (ziploc bag) or a sealed container and allow them to munch all day!

9.  Juice it - With the new technologies we have to day you can purchase a juicer and or even buy the V8 drinks at stores.  If you make your own add a little fruit to it to make it sweeter.  THe V8 juices offer I beleive 2 full servings of veggies a glass and they too have the fruit and veggie mix.  Again this is another my little ones seem to enjoy not even realizing their getting the veggies needed for a healthy body.

10.  Allow play - My daughter gets in trouble for playing with her food at the table.  My hubby can't stand it but when we are eating alone if she wants to make a mountain with her potatoes and use the corn for lava OK.  THe deal is if she plays with it she has to eat it.  I don't allow her to play with it and make a mess with it and then not eat it.  On this one we start to lose table manners, so it is almost a step in the wrong direction!  When you go to the grocery store take your child with you and let them help you decide which veggies you are going to have.  We have a grocery store  here that has tiney grocery carts and my daughter ALWAYS has to have one, so I allow her to help me pick some of the things we will have. 

     No matter which route you go or which one you use, as long as you can get your child and even aults alike to eat their veggies then it is a success.  My 2 year has gone through stages where all she would eat is veggies and now it is meat, and she don't even want french fries.  So I don't fight her too bad now because I know she will eat it we are just going through a phase!  You know your child and what they will and will not eat, and even their allergies.  Don't force them to eat everything on their plate because this can cause bad eating habits and obesity.  Allow them to eat freely but with in reason!  Find what works for you and your family and stick to it.  We are all different on things we enjoy from sports to our foods.  So allow the same for your child.  What they learn now they will continue on in life.  My parents used to get so angry with me because they said "I eat like a bird".  I currently am not overweight and still continue to eat smaller meals and more of them.

About Peas and Thank YouPeas and Thank You is a collection of recipes and stories from a mainstream family eating a not-so-mainstream diet. It's filled with healthy and delicious versions of foods we’ve all grown up enjoying, but with a Mama Pea twist—no meat, lots of fresh ingredients and plenty of nutrition for growing Peas. From wholesome breakfasts to mouth-watering desserts, there’s plenty here to satisfy the pickiest Peas in your life. It’s easier than ever to whip up crowd-pleasing meals that will have the whole family asking for, “more, Peas.” Sarah Matheny's delicious recipes and entertaining stories draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to her blog, each month, where she makes raising a vegetarian family easy and fun. She is the author of  “Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love.”

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here