Kids Fruits and Vegetables: Tips for Getting Them to Exist in Harmony
Tips for helping kids eat healthier
Our diet is a major factor in the state of our health and how we eat from when we are young sets the stage. Children, of course, do not understand this and explaining this fact will not do much in the way of convincing them to eat the fruits, veggies and other healthy foods you want to be a regular part of their diet. They want what tastes good to them; they want the fun stuff like the colorful cereals and other treats with slick marketing campaigns; their picky nature can make it challenging to introduce new foods.
If you are struggling to get your children to eat healthier, you are not alone; the good news is, however, there are some things you can do, provided you go into the endeavor with some patience, persistence, and in some cases, a willingness to do things a bit differently than you have been. Familiarizing yourself with some tactics that research has found to increase a child’s intake of fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods may be a good place to start.
The Importance of Family Meals
A study that came out in December 2012 made an interesting, yet not really surprising finding—the more a family sat down together and ate dinner as a family, the greater the servings of fruits and vegetables consumed each day. Researchers from London had families note how often they ate dinner together as well as what the children ate every day. The study looked at the diet of over 2,400 children and found that children whose families ate together every day usually got the 5 recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, while families that ate together even as little as once or twice a week managed to get in about 4.5 servings a day. Families that never ate dinner together averaged about 3.3 servings a day. Researchers believe one of the reasons for these findings is the idea that watching parents and other family members eat healthier foods helps shape preferences for these same foods.
Switch Up Your Approach
Another study, by researchers at Baylor University in the United States, found that certain approaches may work better than others when it comes to getting your child to eat more fruits and vegetables. Many parents often try tactics such as trying to make healthy foods more palatable or hard line strategies like refusing to buy junk food, withholding dessert or doling out some sort of punishment for not eating healthy foods; these approaches are understandable but result in children eating fewer healthy foods compared to softer approaches that aim to change the child’s preference rather than work against their dislike; if you want to try and get your child to eat healthier foods, doing things like increasing their access to the foods you want them to eat or providing ‘’teaching’’ moments, such as repeatedly introducing a food and asking the child to try it without making them finish it, seems to work better.
Lots of studies have been done that have shown when presented with a greater variety of unhealthy foods, we tend to eat more of them. This idea of variety has also recently been studied with healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables. A study at Penn State suggests that we will eat more vegetables when served a greater variety as compared to just one, even if that one vegetable happens to be our favorite one. Other research, which had children look at different plates of food, found that they were more likely to want to eat the meals with the greatest variety of foods and colors.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing tips on how to get children to eat healthier; if you are looking for some new meal ideas, check out Hamilton Beach recipes for a variety of tasty meals. Kids, Fruits and Vegetables: Tips for Getting Them to Exist in Harmony