Children and Vegetables

Posted On 2 August 2013

Almost all parents with young children will have experienced the difficulties in getting them to eat vegetables.  Young children may just be at the picky-eater stage or may just be overly cautious in general.  The abundance of convenience foods such as microwave meals means that they may not see or get close to their five-a-day for fruit or vegetables, but they should.

Firstly, vegetables are full of essential vitamins and minerals and are good for you and your child.  So how do you get a child to regularly eat vegetables without it being hard work for the parent.

Step 1: Be consistent

If a child only sees vegetables once a week or less or even just at the dinner table, they are going to be more picky about eating them.  To get around this, make vegetables part of every meal and even use them as snacks.  For example, a peeled carrot makes a great snack in a lunch box - but try small portions to start with rather than a whole carrot.  If the snack is returned uneaten in the lunch box, pack it again the next day, but make it a bit smaller.  

Step 2: Don't hide food

You may be able to mix vegetables in amongst other food (for example cauliflower cheese)- but make sure that you still have vegetables at the side of the plate too.  Also, explain or show your child what it in some of their favourite dishes and what the raw vegetables look like.  If they get a better understanding, they will hopefully be more inclined to try new things. 

Step 3: Different Tastebuds

Children's taste buds are more sensitive to the extremes of taste than adults - and although this may go against a good-parent philosophy, don't be afraid to add some kind of additional flavours to hide the taste.  You can use, for example, a tiny bit of salt, ketchup (within reason), oil, sprinkling of cheese etc.  For raw vegetables such as cucumber, use dips or dressings to make it more enjoyable for children.


Did you know what in a recent newspaper article, children were asked where French Fries come from - and some didn't know.  "They come from McDonalds" and "they grow on trees" was not the right answer!


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