One of the TOP questions I get from parents is “How do I get my kids to eat their vegetables?”
I understand the situation. In today’s world, a child eat a lot of foods that have the one-two combo of being fatty and salty, like the bite of a freshly fried French Fry or a perfectly cooked Chicken Nugget dipped in ketchup. You could also add pizza, pasta with cheese, hot dogs and so many more treats to this list
After tasting all these delicious, though unhealthy foods, it’s no wonder your child looks at that green piece of broccoli on their plate and says “Ew, I don’t want to eat it.”
In a previous post, I shared two tips to get kids to eat broccoli tips. Those strategies apply to almost all veggies
From knowing hundreds of families through 5+ years of teaching kids cooking, I’ve seen the key ingredient is:
In order for your child to eat their veggies, you the parent must eat your veggies in front of them!
Kids are like sponges, and they pickup your habits. If you’re ONLY eating pasta and choose not to eat a side of cooked zucchini with it, they’ll do the same. If for lunch you only eat a big salad and when a piece of bread appears you push it away because you think it’ll make you gain weight, they’ll do the same. If you fret about carbs and gluten, they’ll do the same.
You must make it a habit to eat dinner (and ideally breakfast too) with your child and in the process eat more or less the same things they’re eating. A well-balance dinner of pan-roasted chicken, brown rice and sautéed zucchini cooked in garlic and olive oil is a perfect meal for a parent or a child.
Use that time to eat together.
Here’s another important tool:
Do not let your child eat dessert if they don’t eat all their vegetables.
This is a tip used since the dawn of time, and my own mom used it effectively.
And since I’m in a good mood having just finished cooking Orange Chicken, Broccoli and Jasmine Rice for a group of happy parents and their kids during our summer cooking camp at Village School, I’ll share another key tip.
Eat dinner REGULARLY with your kids.
This may mean that each parent has to come home early on a regular basis, ideally 4 out of 7 nights a week to have dinner with the family.
If you only eat with your kids on the weekends and once during the work week, they won’t pick up the habit as effectively as if you did it regularly.
1) You must eat healthy food with your kids, so they pickup the habit
2) NO dessert for your child unless their vegetables are eaten
3) Eat with your kids regularly, ideally 4 times a week at a minimum.
Try all those tips plus bring them into the cooking process and let me know if your child begins to actually like eating vegetables (or at the very least, eat them without complaining)
You the parent are one of if not their favorite person. Everything you do will be mimicked by them.
So get cooking with your kids and eat together.
Setup a habit of creating memories around food.
And then dropoff your kids at one of our summer camps so our chefs can share culinary secrets used by top chefs to make vegetables taste good.