It has always been a challenge to convince children to eat more fruits and vegetables. According to studies, only about 25% of children from ages seven to 12 in Singapore get the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
Researchers have attributed their lack of enthusiasm for healthy foods to one of two options. Either children fear trying new food, or they disapprove of the bland taste of veggies. Regardless of their reasons, fruits and vegetables are essential to achieve a well-balanced diet.
So if you’re struggling to get your kids to eat what’s good for them, here are six creative techniques you can try to help kids enjoy eating healthy produce from the organic shop.
Introduce them to fruits and veggies at a young age
As children grow older, they develop their food preferences. So, it's important to introduce them to healthy food from an early age to influence their tastes.
After six months, babies can start eating soft foods. During this time, you can infuse fruits and vegetables into their diet. For example, you can puree or mash soft fruits and vegetables before feeding them to your baby. Be sure to introduce one food item at a time to see how your child reacts. Then, when you regularly do it, your child can swiftly adapt to a nutrient-filled diet.
Teach them about food
Once your child becomes more familiar with the taste and texture of various fruits and vegetables, they learn not to fear them. In fact, they may even enjoy eating them.
If you want to enhance this newfound love for healthy produce, you can make it more interactive.
While grocery shopping at an organic shop, you can tell them about the different names and colours of different fruits and vegetables. During their mealtime, they can learn more about the produce through their five senses to help grow their appreciation for healthy food.
Mix vegetables into their favourite meals
One of the greatest qualities of vegetables is that they are versatile ingredients. They can be eaten on their own or mixed into different dishes. One of the best ways to help children enjoy vegetables is to mix them into their favourite meals.
For example, if your child loves pizza, you can use some vegetables like bell peppers, olives, or spinach as toppings. If they enjoy noodles, you can replace the normal pasta with vegetable alternatives like mushroom noodles. If they love fries, why not replace the classic starchy potato with a healthier sweet potato? Doing so can introduce them to new flavours and textures.
Make the food presentation fun and creative
Often, children are attracted to visual presentation. So, if the food on their plate looks boring, chances are, they're less likely to be appetized by it. As a solution, try to be creative with the presentation. To do so, you need to take advantage of the multi-coloured vegetables and create an interesting plate. To get the best colouring, try to shop fresh from an organic food online store. You can also use different shape-cutters to make their meal look more visually appealing. Remember, appearances are everything, so try to make it as fun as possible.
Load up on flavours
However, appearance is only one of the aspects of converting your children to healthy foods. Besides this, the flavour also plays an important role in convincing them to eat more fruits and veggies.
In order to get the flavour just right, you need to understand your kid's palate. Do they prefer sweet food or savoury dishes? What types of texture do they lean towards? Knowing this can give you the upper hand in preparing the healthy meal that they might like.
For children who are picky eaters, try to start with fruits and vegetables that are sweeter and more palatable. This includes pumpkin, corn, or cauliflower. Then, as they get used to the flavour and texture of different vegetables, you can gradually introduce more varieties over time by shopping for organic vegetables online.
Remember, you need not serve them individually to get the best flavours and textures. It's recommended to mix different fruits and vegetables into their meals.
Implement a reward system
Finally, if you want them to eat more healthy food, encourage them by using a reward system. After consuming a certain amount of veggies, for instance, you can give them stickers or allow them to do some of their favourite activities. This will motivate them to increase their fruits and veggie consumption in the long run.
Remember, when it comes to children, eating is like playing for them. So try to make their experience of consuming fruits and vegetables as enjoyable as possible.