Sometimes our little one’s will just blankly refuse to eat certain foods. More often than not it tends to be fruit or vegetables – the important stuff. It’s safe to say that for us parents the frustration can be very real, and we can even feel like we are just losing a battle we were never quite equipped for in the first place. Kids can be stubborn, babies and toddlers especially know exactly what they want and what they don’t want, but it’s important to remember that they are developing at rapid speed and they will go through phases.
To help, here are 7 ways you can try incorporate fruit and vegetables into your child’s diet and how you can encourage them to try more foods.
Keep cool, keep thinking of new ideas and remember you’ve got this!
INTRODUCE A VARIETY AT AN EARLY AGE
If you are limiting the types of food that you give your child, they will quickly become accustomed to these tastes and textures which could lead to fussiness when prompted to try something new. Ensuring you include a variety of different fruit and vegetables from an early age will encourage them to be more open to new foods. Being direct about the fruit and vegetables that your child is eating, telling them where they’re from and why they are important, could encourage their interest in what’s on their plate.
MAKE IT FUN
Coming up with fun and enticing ways to present vegetables to your children should encourage more fruit and vegetable exploration. Mixing up the ways you present each fruit or vegetable on a plate could just be the answer to at least getting your child to try something new.
You could try making faces out of the fruit or vegetables and name each fruit or vegetable character you have created on their plate. Telling them all about the ingredients your using while you’re cooking, letting them watch you and just generally getting them involved in some way should encourage them to try more of the important stuff!
TRY SERVING IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY
If your child has turned their noses up to a particular fruit or vegetable you could try serving it in a completely new way. For example if your child loves cheese but isn’t keen on broccoli, you could try incorporating broccoli in a big dish of ‘mac and cheese’ for the whole family to enjoy.
If your little one isn’t keen on a vegetable on it’s own you could try making fritters. The possibilities are endless with fritters and they make for a great weaning finger food, dinner component or lunch time snack. Another example could be blending in vegetables like carrots or parsnips into a comforting mash. Thinking of different ways to serve vegetables to your child should help discover a love for new foods and at the same time getting in the important nutrients.
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE AND EAT TOGETHER
If you want your little one to enjoy fruit and vegetables, you too need to be eating them and setting a good example. This is also a chance for you to have fun and be more experimental with your cooking and ingredient choices. Making meals that the whole family can enjoy will lead to much smoother and calmer meal times, and if you are eating what they are eating they are bound to want to join in and follow suit!
LOTS OF PRAISE AND AVOID STRESS
It can be difficult and sometimes frustrating when your child refuses to eat their fruit or vegetables but it’s important to try and stay really calm (it can be tough, I know) so they don’t pick up on any negative feelings. Instead, lots of praise when they have tried something new to make meal times positive and enjoyable for the both of you.
KEEP SNACKS HEALTHY
The odd treat definitely won’t hurt, but keeping their daily snacks healthy will create good habits and boost their intake of vitamins and nutrients.
SNEAK VEGGIES IN IF YOU NEED TO
You could try and blend in vegetables into their favourite pasta dish by blending up onions, mushrooms, courgettes into the tomato sauce. This way they are still having their favourite pasta dish but with lots of hidden goodness!