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Excuse Buster: Getting your kids to eat more vegetables

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PHUKET: I am slated to give a talk on nutrition at one of Phuket’s international schools soon. One question I always get asked when speaking to parents is: “How do I get my child to eat vegetables?”

Having two children myself, I know the struggles of encouraging children to eat more from this critical food group packed full of nutrients. However, as most parents know, raising children is a labor of love that has patience and persistence as the cornerstones.

Here are some tips to help encourage your child to eat more vegetables.

1. The most important strategy to get kids to eat vegetables is seeing parents eat lots of them in order to set a good example. Show them how much you eat and enjoy vegetables.

2. Don’t give up on certain vegetables. Taste buds change over time, so keep putting vegetables in front of your kids in different ways.

3. Use praise when your child tries vegetables, especially new ones.

4. ‘No dessert till you eat your vegetables’ is a great rule. Worked when I was growing up and I still use it too.

5. Get your child involved in preparing vegetables.

6. Offer vegetables as snacks. We often give some raw vegetables for the kids to munch on before dinner, including carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers.

7. Go for variety, taste and fun. If you have young ones, make little men with carrot legs, celery arms, tomato heads and cucumber bodies.

8. Get them involved in growing ‘easy’ vegetables such as tomatoes. If they grow them, they are more likely to try them.

9. Get vegetables into meals in as many ways as possible (such as steamed, roasted, raw, cooked or boiled).

10. Make your own tomato ketchup with real tomatoes, herbs, spices and better sweeteners such as erythritol/xylitol (coconut nectar/stevia – most commercial brands use high fructose corn syrup).

11. When shopping, try to ask them which vegetables they know about and want to try next.

12. Add 100 per cent real butter and olive oil to vegetables, along with a pinch of herbs and spices, including unrefined sea salt.

13. Try adding some seaweed to meals, as it’s full of minerals.

14. Make wraps from lettuce leaves and add grated vegetables, chicken or eggs. Serve with a tasty dressing made of raw honey and fruit.

Craig Burton is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) with a Bachelor of Science degree (Sports Science) and a National Academy of Sports Medicine (PES) certification.

— Craig Burton

 

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