Wondering how to get your kids to eat more vegetables?? The good news is that 93% of kids growing vegetables at home or school will eat them and eat better if given the chance. The bad news is that nearly 70% of New Zealand children are not eating enough fruit and vegetables, barely 40% are getting regular exercise, and by age 20-24, 85% are not eating well. So it is crucial for kids to learn to love healthy food from a young age to ensure the best start to adulthood.
How do I get my kids to eat more vegetables?
The moment I knew I had made it as a parent was the day my youngest, Joel, burst into tears at dinner because his older brother Luke had taken more salad than he did. That was the heavenly moment every parent craves. My kids are still known to fight over who has the most salad. They will also happily eat raw vegetables as snacks (broccoli, cabbage, peas, carrots), vegetable soups for lunch or dinner (pumpkin, potato, vegetable), and green blossom smoothies (apples, lemons, limes and raw spinach/silverbeet/kale blended). People often ask me what my secret is, and funnily enough it started out with necessity and then became a healthy habit.
When I started raising children I was barely 21 and I wasn’t earning much money, but I was 100% committed to healing my illness and getting healthy, so all we ate were healthy foods. We made everything fresh and ate whatever was there. It was a case of “here’s your breakfast” and if they weren’t interested, I would just say “You’re obviously not hungry, so I will leave it here and you can eat it when you’re hungry”. Funnily enough, they always came back and ate it.
Kids will not starve themselves
Do not be fooled by your kids into thinking they will starve themselves. Kids behave into the environment they are allowed to, and are often victims of ‘too much to choose from’. All kids are strong-willed and they all want you to lead the way for them. The best trick is to make it fun! I remember getting really excited about cabbage, crunching and making loud noises in my boy’s ears, they loved it and we were all in hysterics – They have loved raw cabbage ever since. We also use funny names for things. Like calling soaked oats ‘summer porridge’ as a way of having the kids eat raw oats through the warmer months.
The harsh reality is you have to lead the way
The only other advice I will give is that; if you want your kids to eat better, you have to eat better. It starts with you. If you genuinely walk the talk, and enjoying raw fresh fruits and vegetables, they will too. You have to change your diet first. The reason our children eat lots of fresh raw fruits and vegetables is because my wife Tracey and I eat lots of fresh raw fruits and vegetables. Your kids will enjoy healthy meals filled with vegetables if they are exposed to them, one awesomely delicious meal at a time.
All children want to be healthy, strong, fast and fit, so educate your children as to why vegetables are important. The more they know, the more they’ll want to be involved.