It all starts with a petty reward you offer, followed by a princely one that as a parent you begin to grasp how hard it is to get children to eat peas. Or anything of that color. When you run out of rewards to entice your 5-10-year-old, you start on the oft risky path of punishments. Bingo! We’re here to help you out with this ‘Green Food Conundrum’ featuring your child’s irritable, fussy eating habits.
If they don’t like the taste of something, they won’t eat it. It’s as simple as that. Children’s eating habits are no surprise to parents. Fries or chips are their favorite vegetable, fruit, and meat. Anything green is met with clenched teeth and hunger vanishes as soon as they find it on their plate. Innumerable parents have failed to feed their kids green vegetables. All this, to provide a nutritious, varied diet to their kid.
The cheat-sheet for vegetables in your child’s diet
In addition to eating vegetables each day, kids should eat a variety of:
- Dark green vegetables (broccoli, greens, spinach, romaine, lettuce)
- Orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, winter squash)
- Starchy vegetables (corn, green peas, white potatoes)
- Dry beans and peas
- Other vegetables (cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini) each week
Kids are drawn towards brightly colored food like reds and oranges. They miss out on green vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, etc. Sources of nutrients such as iron, calcium, and vitamin A. They are essential for healthy growth and development. It remains a distant dream for parents to watch their kids crave peas & greet broccoli with as much delight as pizza.
Fruits and vegetables are such a huge part of health and wellness and the very thing that most young children are lacking. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a chore for your kids, if you make it fun for them they’ll eat it.
You may give a different appearance to food using a vegetable that possibly your kids don’t like, and disguising it with the food they do like is great.
Why would they (not) love it?
and what can you do about it?
Children are pre-conditioned to not like green leafy food right from birth. It is hard to like varied forms and palettes of grass when you’re accustomed to the familiar taste of lactose. “Children aren’t used to bitter and sour taste”, quips an expert. Those are the primary tastes mother nature bestowed on the greens during genesis.
If you compare vegetables or fruits by color, carrots are often sweeter than anything green. Color & appearance of food are amongst the first stimuli it provides us. When you are a green leafy vegetable, your chances of being on good terms with tiny humans are slim to none.
French kids may hold the answer to healthy eating habits
It is a fact that French kids eat everything. They don’t eat this way because of some genetic tendency, French parents gently condition their children to eat healthy food. They expect their kids to consume anything put in front of them.
According to the French, this should start when children are very young, even before their first birthday. This provides a wonderful basis for discipline: firm but gentle guidance about life’s rules.
French food rule #1: “Parents, you are in charge of your children’s food education.” Kids in charge of their own eating is a recipe for disaster. Serve them green vegetables when they are really hungry and serve them again.
Then, they would eat anything and everything. According to the French psychologists and nutritionists, the average number of times children must be given to taste new foods is seven before they willingly agree to eat them.
It is a simple principle that no matter who they grow up to be, how and what your children eat will be of great importance to their health. We as parents should place a high value on our children eating well and not give up trying to teach them even if they consistently refuse.
The secret lies not only in what, but also how, when, and why kids eat. Parents must help their children develop one of the most important skills of their lives.