A common complaint among parents trying to get their small children to eat more vegetables is that they just don’t like their vegetables. Now, as the father of a 6 year old that loves cruciferous veggies, squash, artichokes and unsweetened tea I don’t think this is a true statement. Maybe it’s because he’s been stealing these foods off of my plate since he can remember. For those of you who missed this window, maybe this will help.
Of course, first and foremost is to be eating healthy yourself. You cannot be eating a juicy burger dripping with grease and high fructose corn syrup ketchup and complain to your child that he or she is not eating their broccoli. The same goes for smoking. Ditto for sitting on your butt watching TV and not exercising. Until this is in place you can never expect your child to be healthier than you are. The same goes tenfold for stress. If you are a stress monster, regardless of whether you think you “keep it from them,” children pick up on this. Put on a smile if you’d like, but children (and animals) are perceptive enough to see through the charade and begin to emulate the parent’s stress management techniques (or lack thereof).
Back to more veggies…
This particular study finds that, by decreasing the entree size, children aged 3-5 increased their fruit and vegetable intake and reduce overall caloric intake. It’s pretty simple, really–just provide multiple options on the plate without having any one portion dominate the plate. The result is very positive. There’s a neat little restaurant here in AZ called Pita Jungle. They have a kid’s meal that we can order with hummus, a small side of chicken, cauliflower and fruit (there’s a side of pita bread as well, but we usually feed this to the ducks so they can get fat instead…). The perfect blend and Keegan eats it without complaint and truly loves to go to this restaurant.