If you have a child that loves vegetables, consider yourself lucky.
After enjoying pureed veggies as babies, children grow into a phase where they reject anything green or anything that doesn’t taste like candy.
In observance of World Obesity Day in 2021, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), said that The Caribbean has some of the highest rates of overweight and obesity in the Americas with adults ranging from 18.9 per cent in Antigua and Barbuda to 31.6 per cent in the Bahamas.
The agency said that alarmingly, overweight and obesity prevalence levels in children aged five to nine years in CARICOM countries are increasing, and highest in the Bahamas at 39.5 per cent and lowest in Saint Lucia at 26.1 per cent. The prevalence of obesity in Caribbean children is two to three times higher than the World.
With such alarming numbers, it is imperative that we introduce healthy eating habits to our children and eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a start.
So if you are a parent who’s stumped on how to stop their kids from picking out everything that faintly resembles a vegetable from their food, here are some tips to help you in your quest.
Make them Fun
In the children’s book, I Will Never Not Eat A Tomato in the Charlie and Lola series, Lola refuses to eat her veggies until her clever brother pretends they are anything but veggies. Mashed potatoes became fluffy clouds, peas became green drops from Greenland and carrots became twiglets from Jupiter. Take a page from Charlie and use your imagination to make vegetables fun.
If the sight of a vegetable is enough to send your child into starvation mode then you can trick them into eating it by hiding it in another food. Puree veggies and mix them into stews or pies, put them as pizza toppings or mix them into mac and cheese. Blend them into fruit smoothies or make them into a dip.
Making veggies fun may encourage your children to eat them. Photo:iStock
Get your child involved
When children get to participate in the cooking process, they are more appreciative of the meals they are served. Get your child involved in the prepping, if they are old enough to handle a knife, let them chop up the veggies, or if they aren’t let them wash the veggies or arrange them on a dish.
Make veggies a staple in the house
You can’t expect your children to grow fond of vegetables if they only see them once in a while. Add vegetables to your food shopping lists and ensure they are at least part of one meal a day.
Let your kids help with the vegetable prep. Photo: iStock
Disguise them as a favourite food
My kids love chicken nuggets but one day I made cauliflower nuggets and they couldn’t tell the difference. Find inventive ways to re-create veggies into foods your children love. By the time they are on to you, chances are they will already be converts.
Tell us, how do you get your kids to eat their veggies?