Let me tell you a secret: I did not grow up eating healthy. The truth is, I once dreamed of locking myself in one room with a TV and an unlimited supply of McDonald’s burgers and fries. I was addicted to these delectable foods and I craved for them every day.
Thankfully, I was spared from such reality and avoided the frightening effects of too much junk food in my body. Still, I went on with the unhealthy eating lifestyle and munched on chips and sodas as I could get my hands on them. It is unbearable if I thought about it today. Have I let myself go?
But, for the younger version of me, it was gratifying and enjoyable to eat whatever I like despite its bad effects on my body. I end up fat, heavy around the thighs, and unable to control my weight.
Fast forward to the years when I was starting up as a mother, I continued my cravings and indulged myself more often. I must admit that I had more control but I cannot help myself. The freedom to buy these chock full of indulgence anytime and nobody to scold me gave addictive impulses.
Now, the sad part is I doubled my weight, felt ugly in front of the mirror, and I was afraid of any health complications. I began to realize its bad effects on my body.
So, my husband and I started to switch to a healthier eating habit and it was amazing. We began to eat more vegetables and avoided the “junk” foods section in groceries. It did help shed off some pounds from my body and I felt rejuvenated, energized, and happier than before.
The tricky part is how to get our child to eat what we eat.
We love to cook and eat vegetables every meal but our kid does not always adore the green and colorful stuff on our table. She may sometimes be obedient to eat but with a pout and a face. There are always leftovers on the plate and we are worried that she is not eating enough for her daily sustenance.
We do not want our baby to end up sick and not having enough nutrients in her body. We want her to be physically and mentally fit to fight sickness, most especially flu and asthma attacks. But, how do we get her to eat her vegetables?
Before I list down the tips and tricks on how we made our child eat vegetables, here is a short recap on WHY we need them to eat more fruits and vegetables:
- I gives them a boost in their immune system. As I have said earlier, this is very important for us. Constantly worrying about your child when he or she is sick is not good. Aside from the worst feelings your children go through, it is also weakening on your part as parents. We feel worse seeing our children weak and struggling. Most fruits and vegetables have antioxidants and vitamin C to fight bacteria and other molecules that trigger sickness in the body. We cannot avoid these things from entering the body. But, if we have enough defenses, these are easily destroyed.
- Your child will have optimal growth and body development. The age of your children now is crucial in their development physically, mentally, and physiologically. But, for their body parts to grow and develop, they need all the help and that is where the nutrients from fruits and vegetables come in. Your kids will have stronger bones and better memory.
- Fruits and vegetables can give your kids energy. It is surprising to know that these healthy foods can boost your child’s energy every day. Fruits and vegetables have nutrients that are energy-boosters so your child is ready for a whole play day in school.
- Your children will avoid getting constipated. It is one of the biggest challenges a parent will face. Constipation is stressful, alarming, and frightening especially if your child is struggling with it. We want to avoid this scenario at any cost so pack your kids with lots of fiber from fruits and vegetables.
- Eating more fruits and vegetables can help manage their weight. I have realized that the ideal weight of a person depends on his or her height. If your child is taller than his or her peers, expect a heavier weight. Do not get alarmed instantly by the numbers you see on the weighing scale. Measure your kid’s height and compare this to his or her weight. Fruits and vegetables also prevent obesity among children.
There are many benefits to eating more fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, our children may not understand it and get quite confused if there are tastier options than healthy ones. What we can do is to look for clever ways to integrate vegetables and fruits into their diet without them noticing the huge difference.
It was a challenge at first, especially with all the added efforts to prepare a healthier meal that everyone in the family will love. Still, knowing that what we do is for our child, it gives us motivation and encouragement to keep pushing on.
If YOU have to choose, would you rather make things easier at the risk of your child’s health or would you add a bit of effort for a long-lasting and CERTAIN health benefits?
All our added patience, energy, time, and body exhaustion are all worth it seeing our child putting good food in her body always. It took a long time but looking back, we are happy and satisfied that for several years, she is no longer picky when it comes to her food. She eats more vegetables every day up to the point of not eating processed and junk food for several days and weeks.
Right now, we want to share our secrets with you on how you can make your kids eat the right kind of food. Remember, it is not an easy path for us too. We get tired sometimes and felt depleted creatively. But, we are grateful that we made it through until now.
So, here are some of the ways how you can make your child eat vegetables.
Start Small and Slow.
Avoid rushing things. This process is not easy for everyone so do not expect your child to like his or her vegetables after a few tries. It takes some time and it is a continual process until it becomes an eating habit for your child.
Make Fruits Readily Available at Home.
One of the things that make us eat unhealthily is when junk food is available at home while the healthy ones are not. See to it that you have apples, berries, and bananas available at the table whenever your kids get hungry. Avoid stocking up on junk food so everyone will have no other option than the fruits on hand.
Introduce a New Vegetable Once a Week.
For example, cook a meal with potatoes as the main ingredient. Tell your child that it is a potato and it is good for the health. Next week, you can cook peas. Introducing one vegetable or fruit at a time will not overwhelm your child with a healthy shift and will give him or her enough time to get used to the taste.
Try Different Ways to Cook your Vegetables.
You can puree your vegetables into a soup or you can add fruits to your breakfast pancakes. You can also add a bit of vegetables on his or her favorite food. Many children do not love vegetables because these healthy options are set apart and tagged as different from the less healthy but delicious options. Seeing that these vegetables can be fun and tasty too will make your child learn to love them as well.
Let your Kid Help in the Preparation.
He or she does not have to prepare the entire meal. Allow your child to mix a batter or pour the ingredients inside the bowl. Simple things are also exciting for a child. Your kid can also help in making a beautiful presentation of his or her food in the end so that he or she will be more enthusiastic to eat.
Begin with Desserts and Snacks.
If it takes some time to introduce vegetables in your meals, try it with desserts and snacks. Make ice popsicles made of fruits or add bits of berries in his or her yogurt. You can also bake cakes and other pastries using fruits or vegetables. You can even whip up a healthy smoothie using a small number of green leaves but packed with bananas, berries, apples, and pineapples.
Kids Always Follow Example
Children are like mirrors. They easily follow what they see from other people, either from an adult or from another kid. If they love what they see, soon enough they are doing the same thing. From making different facial expressions to things they want to touch, up to the food they will put in their mouth, kids love to play follow-the-leader.
That being said, if you want your kids to eat vegetables, you as parents, should also set a good example for them. Eat your vegetables and do not choose your food on the table. Enjoy eating healthy foods and your kids will soon start to love eating them too.
Food photo created by freepik