A Tale As Old As Time: How to Help Picky Eaters Eat Their Veggies

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A Tale as Old as Time…The Question many parents has asked ….“How to get my toddler to Eat Their Veggies?”

A tale as old as time or at least as long as macaroni and cheese competed with vegetables for plate space.  No, not talking about Beauty and the Beast but the age-old question of “how do I get my child to eat their vegetables?”  Many parents have experienced this common mealtime dilemma. 

So what’s the secret?  What’s the magic formula that will unlock the answer to this age-old question? First, know that it is not your job to “get your child to eat their vegetables”, that’s their job. As parents we are responsible for bring the veggies to the table and we can set a good example by eating our veggies but let your child make the decision about eating it. I know it’s really hard to not make comments. Believe me, I have failed at times but the less pressure the better. In our family the one bite try worked well but if you have a child that will dig in their heals even further, just keep exposing a variety of foods to them. They are learning what a well-balanced meal looks like.

Here’s 5 ways to help point your fussy toddlers in the right direction…

Rewind your day.  Say you’re serving an amazing variety of veggies at dinner but no one touches them.  What happened before dinner?  Was there any snacking close to dinner time?  Was there a toddler cruising the house with a baggie full of snack foods?  If so, they may already be full!

Where are you eating?  Come together as a family and eat at a table.  No TV, no devices, just family, meal, connecting and laughing.  Difficult to do in a fast-paced world but totally worth it! Bonus, your kids get to see you eating your veggies and modeling healthy eating.

Routine meals and snack times.  Keep it consistent so your child knows when it’s time to eat and when it’s not.

Serve familiar foods & serve veggies as an appetizer. Keep several familiar go-to foods that are family favorites on the table while introducing new foods. If your hungry kids keep circling the kitchen for food, provide an appetizer plate with veggies and they will often munch away while waiting for dinner.

No pressure. Remember your job is to determine the menu and provide the food. It is your child’s job to determine what and how much of the food. Please keep to your planned menu and leave the short-order cooking to the restaurants!

Beth Dunlap is a registered dietitian dedicated to helping families survive the meal time battles with great healthy food everyone will love, and eat.

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