Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting Kids to Eat It...

...or ourselves, for that matter. My niece has been known to say, "This tastes like green. I don't like green!" We (the people) have tried giving our kids peas and spinach, but they won't eat it. Why should they, anyhow? They have many other choices, and we think it's not a huge deal. After all, kids just don't like vegetables, right? A daily vitamin will do the trick, especially if it looks and tastes like a gummy bear.


Not if we really want to have health, anyway. You can eat to survive or you can eat to thrive! As I said in an earlier post, we have to learn about why it's important to eat well. The same goes for our kids. TEACH them the why's and involve them in the preparation. When they learn and then experience the benefits firsthand, the food battles will likely diminish and then fade away completely. Green Smoothie Girl has some good thoughts about this in her 12 Steps Program, which I highly recommend. Also, she has a YouTube video on this topic. Check it out.

Other ideas:

Make the food look fun and attractive. Use lots of color (color=antioxidants)!

Anitra Kerr of SimplyLivingSmart.com makes what she calls an Incredible Edible Veggie Bowl that is fun. You can watch that video (and others) when you sign up for a free membership on that site.

Don't label things so much before your kids can develop their own opinions. I have met people who assume that because something is green that their kids won't like it. I brought some green smoothie to my morning workout and my little boy was drinking some. I was loaded with greens, and it was really good too. Some of the other kids wanted a taste, so I let them try it. They liked it. When I told their mom, the moment I said green smoothie, her face crinkled. Gross! was her response. Her kids liked it though.

Keep trying. Sometimes it takes a lot of tries (more than 20, for sure) for kids to gain a taste for something.

Know this: What you serve is what they will eat. I went to an Armenian cooking class once and a lady came with her kids. When her daughter tried the new things, she spat them out (she was about 10 years old) right in front of the teacher. Then she went through the teacher's cupboards looking for candy and eating it. Her mother was embarrassed, of course. But as time went on, that same mother asked the teacher if she intended to feed her kids Armenian food. The teacher (being Armenian) responded that of course she would. The mom couldn't believe that any kid would eat non-sugared, vegetable filled foods. Kids eat the foods we have in our homes. They eat what we give them. They develop tastes for what they eat at home.

Try it a new way. My mantra for trying things has become: If I didn't like it last time I tried it, I haven't had it prepared the right way.

Know that changes take time and practice. Keep it up.

Any other ideas? Please share!

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