Friday, January 14, 2011

Help! My Kids Won't Eat Their Vegetables

I bet thousands, maybe even millions of parents worry about the fact that their children don't like to eat vegetables. Kids hate veggies, right? Everyone knows that. Hey, not so fast. That may be a myth. Maybe it's true that some kids wouldn't pick up a carrot stick when they have a bowl of chips available too, but does that mean that they really don't like carrots? I don't think so.

Jenna from Food With Kid Appeal doesn't believe the anti-veggie myth either. She recently held a "Taste Off" at her son's elementary school. Over 300 kids taste-tested several healthy foods and the event was a big success. Check out her blog post describing the tasting event and lots of great information about teaching kids to enjoy their fruits and vegetables.

In our house we have a dichotomy of eaters. My sons and I love to eat veggies and fruit. In fact, I have started calling Mason, my four-year-old, a natural vegetarian because he will always choose vegetables and fruit over anything else on his plate. My youngest, Ryan, is already a great eater too. My daughter and husband tend toward the, "Eewww... it's a vegetable," opinion but I haven't given up on them yet.

I learned a lesson the hard way with my first child - offer a variety of fruits and vegetables (and all types of food for that matter) as young as possible in order to avoid the picky-eater syndrome.

If kids can't remember not eating lots of healthy food there will never be a battle over trying to add it back into to their eating repertoire. For example, Mason is excited when he gets a plate full of spinach salad, green beans, or kiwi because those are the types of foods I've been feeding him since he was a baby.

Unfortunately, I've had to backtrack with Emily because I didn't offer enough of a variety in her first year eating solid foods. Thankfully, she is usually willing to try new foods and has developed a fondness for several fruits and veggies.

So, anyone who is looking for ideas about improving their children's nutrition should check out Jenna's blog. I am always inspired by her ideas and I think you will be too.

This post is linked up with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday and Life As Mom's Eat More Veggies


Judie said...

Our granddaughter Grace is absolutely the pickiest eater on earth! She has been this way since she was a baby. She is so afraid to try new foods, and has lived off a limited list of fruits, and very few veggies for all of her 17 years! She even wrote a paper for one of her classes about wanting to try new foods, but just couldn't make herself do it. She is a beautiful girl, but very thin! We thought she would grow out of this but she hasn't.

jenna said...

@judie there is still hope for grace. i didn't learn to eat many of the things i will eat now until my 20s and some even in my 30s (raw nuts, raw carrots, most leafy greens, onions). she might not "grow" out of it, but assuming there is no medical reason, it is possible for her to mindset about foods to change, mine certainly did! keep believing that grace will learn to like the foods she averse to :)

kimberly- it could just be that your oldest is a "taster" meaning she has more taste buds than others in the family. that would make bitter flavors and "fattiness" like (whole milk, butter, avocados)very unpleasant for her. with age she'll lose some taste buds (as all kids do).

i exposed my youngest to even more real, unprocessed food than i did my oldest and he's my "pickier" eater. he likes a good variety of foods, but he's fickle, some days he just won't eat things he's eaten and liked before, even to the point of missing most of the meal because he "doesn't like this supper" that one eats with his heart, not his brain! don't beat yourself up too much, could be as much nature as nurture...

thanks for sharing the Taste-Off story with your readers :)

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

I agree...variety especially when they are young. Ours are all pretty great eaters...from when they were little til now as adults. They are more open and adventurous than I! :o) My mom offered a variety of different foods, fruits, vegetables, etc when I grew up too...but for some reason, I still was a picky eater as a kid! However, now I love almost every type of food...fruits-YUM!, vegetables, new dishes, etc...well, except for liver.

Blessings & Aloha!
stopping by from Alphabe-Thursday...

Jenny said...

I think you can offer variety and some kids will be picky no matter what. I had one picky one and two eat everything ones...and now I have the same ratio with our Granddaughters.

I always just make sure to give them vitamins and as much of something nourishing as they will eat. They do go through phases it seems.

It sounds like being aware is half the battle.

I hope it gets easy for you.

Thanks for the nifty stop here on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's letter "N"!


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