Creative ways to get children to eat vegetables

April 29, 2014, University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa
Dr. Laura Bloom

(Medical Xpress)—Can you imagine a young child eating spinach, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts or even asparagus? Yes, it can happen. "But how?" you ask.

Experts across both nutrition and child development fields offer multiple tips on ensuring good nutrition for through a variety of foods. More often than not, present the biggest challenge.

To make this process more successful, The University of Alabama's Dr. Laura Bloom offers a few tips on how parents can get the nutrition in their child and not in the doggie bowl.

  • Set a good example. The best predictor of a child's eating is the pattern of their family and primary caregivers. Expose them to different vegetables at your own kitchen table – the earlier, the better.
  • Talk to your about the importance of and the value of eating a variety of vegetables. Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that are critical to their growth, and children are curious as to how their body works and what food does for them.
  • Introduce sweeter vegetables like red peppers, carrots or corn first. Save the plain or bitter vegetables for later.
  • Be creative. Try different vegetables and cook them in different ways. Be careful to not bribe children with fat-laden dips and sauces. Also, arrange their plates in creative shapes or even a smiley face.
  • Involve your children in the preparation of the vegetables. Take them to the grocery store, talk about the variety of vegetables, and even have them help wash and prepare the vegetables once you get home. Older children can help peel and even stir them as you are cooking.
  • Be persistent. Developing good habits take time. Introduce a new vegetable and encourage them to take at least one bite. It may take several times for a child to actually acquire the taste for a new vegetable. Once they are accustomed to that vegetable, introduce another. Before you know it, the battle of the vegetables will become a win-win situation for you and your child!

Bloom is an assistant professor in UA's College of Human Environmental Sciences' department of human development and family studies.

Explore further: Dip, Dip, Hooray—Kids eat more veggies with flavored dips

Related Stories

Dip, Dip, Hooray—Kids eat more veggies with flavored dips

July 9, 2013
Many parents have a difficult time persuading their preschool-aged children to try vegetables, let alone eat them regularly. Food and nutrition researchers have found that by offering a dip flavored with spices, children ...

New study reveals more inspiring reasons to serve veggies at dinner

November 14, 2012
Parents may have some new motivations to serve their kids vegetables. A new study, funded by Pinnacle Foods' Birds Eye brand and published in Public Health Nutrition, found that adding vegetables to the plate led to more ...

How vegetables make the meal

November 27, 2012
Parents may have some new motivations to serve their kids vegetables. A new Cornell University study, published in Public Health Nutrition, found that by simply serving vegetables with dinner, the main course would taste ...

Babies weaned on home-cooked fruit, veg more likely to eat '5 a day' as children

July 22, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Babies weaned on home-cooked fruit and vegetables are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables as children, according to recent research.

Nutrition experts offer tips on healthy summer eating for kids

June 20, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Summer time can often be a free-for-all when it comes to children and their eating habits, said one University of Alabama nutrition expert. There are, however, several things parents can do to help make ...

Recommended for you

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Scottingham
not rated yet Apr 29, 2014
Another effective tip is to hold their nose until they gasp for air, then shove the broccoli right in! Rub their throats so they swallow.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.