How I got my four year old to love eating vegetables.
My 4 year old son is naturally a fussy eater, he does the usual trick of pretending to vomit at any given opportunity when salad or vegetables are served on his plate . If it’s green he refuses point blank to go near it .
This revelation came as a huge shock to me because I was one of those (smuggety smug) parents who already had a six year old who would eat absolutely anything .
So of course I had to be clever with this little fuss pot , using the age old tricks to get some veg into him:
- Green smoothies at breakfast . A hand full of spinach , a banana , and a handful of berries blended together with a handful of ice and some Almond Milk
or coconut water Coconut Water, these are always wolfed down in our house, the kids think they are a milkshake. Sometimes if my kids have been super busy with school and activities or are feeling low in energy ager being poorly I add a scoop of Bioglan SmartKids Superfood Shake for an extra boost.
- Blended or juiced vegetables in sauces, these can be anything from courgette, carrot, beetroot, celery or anything else you have in the fridge , these can be blended in your Vitamix Blender or any other blender you have .
- Home made soups , made from fresh cooked vegetables and stock then blended and sprinkled with parmesan cheese for a delicious comforting dish.
- Fresh juices made from a mixture of vegetables such as carrots , beetroot celery and fruit to give it the sweetness, my kids love apples and oranges added to their juice , I prefer the tartness of grapefruit in mine. this is also a great way to use up fruit and vegetables and if you use a slow press juicer such as Retro Cold Press Masticating Juicer you can keep the fresh juice in the fridge for longer , although it doesn’t last long in our house !
All of this effort of course , ensured that my son had enough veg in his diet but it didn’t make him “love ” vegetables.
I wanted him not to shy away from veg , I wanted him to grow into an adult who naturally wants to choose to eat vegetables.
Then I came across a book called French Children Don’t Throw Food
Which gave me a huge insight into why kids in France eat the same as their parents eat at every meal and in restaurants, including vegetables without any fuss at all.
So, how do French people get their kids to love vegetables, what is their secret?
Well one thing they do is serve a platter full of raw veg sliced as a ” starter ” before every meal .
This idea made complete sense to me because:
- Before dinner my kids are
- At their hungriest
- At their most relaxed
- Not particularly paying attention to what they’re eating especially if the tv is on.
- Likely to wrestle the other child to the floor for no reason what so ever !
All perfect conditions to sneak some veg into them without them really noticing!
So, in conclusion this would mean that they would:
- Be less fussy with what they are eating!
- Not be psyched up and prepared for a dinner table battle ( catch them off guard !)
- Not paying attention to what they are eating!
- Willing to fight each other over the last carrot !
It was a light bulb moment for me !
So now the test !
What did I do ?
I decided that the first day would be all about coaxing them over to the plate
- So, I mostly sliced fruit which I know they love, with just some bell peppers sliced in between .
- I left the plate on a table next to the TV and walked away ,no nagging, no coaxing , no acknowledgement of the plate of food , I just dumped it and ran !
They dived in , wrestled each other for the last piece and then asked for more !
- The second day I reduced the fruit by half and added different vegetables including olives which my kids love .
- On the third day it was all veg they had eaten on the first 2 days
After that I added one new vegetable a day .
Each day they cleared the plate , no matter what I put on it !
How did it affect mealtimes ?
Dinner time became much more relaxed because I knew they’d already eaten a ton of veg as a starter in front of the TV so there was no pressure to eat it at dinner time , we were all more relaxed and it didn’t matter too much if they left food at dinner time because they’d already eaten the good stuff!
So now my 4 year old is choosing to eat lots of veggies for himself with no input from me at all and the dinnertime battles have ended!
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