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4 Tested Tricks for Getting Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies
Nutrition researchers all over the country are constantly publishing studies on the benefits of eating more vegetables. Thanks to this research, we know that a diet that includes at least 3 servings of vegetables may reduce our risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and some types of cancer. These are all benefits that we want for our children, yet at times it’s nearly impossible to get them to eat vegetables. How can you do it? Here’s what the experts recommend:
- Keep Trying! Studies suggest that repeated exposure may increase the child’s liking of vegetables. Try serving your child the same vegetable raw, steamed, roasted and grilled. It may take more than 10 exposures of the same vegetable, but if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
- Encourage your child to make friends with veggie-eaters. A study on preschoolers revealed that a child will consume more vegetables if children at his/her lunch table are eating their vegetables.
- Dip it! A study on 152 pre-school aged children showed that dipping raw broccoli in light ranch dressing may promote vegetable intake. Homemade yogurt-based dips are a healthy alternative to highly processed salad dressings. Try this Cucumber Yogurt dip!
- Pile them high! Research from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill shows that children will eat more of the vegetables (that they already like) if they are served larger portions.
Children’s consumption of vegetables is highly variable due to current hunger, mood, and attention on competing activities. They may eat several servings of vegetables one day and only one baby carrot the next. Don’t get frustrated! Celebrate the victories and know that each vegetable your child consumes is an investment in their health.