healthy families blog

Eat your veggies


Eat Your Veggies

Many parents worry that their kids don’t eat enough vegetables. While their concerns may be legitimate, it’s important not to get too stressed out about vegetables. Kids know when you’re anxious because you can subtly pressure them about their eating. Praising them, rewarding them, having them take a no thank you bite, or even making them eat their vegetables before they can have seconds or dessert is pressure. The best approach is to back off and put your energy towards doing your job of planning the menus, setting the meal and snack schedule, and bringing everyone to the table to sit down together for a family meal. Once you’ve done your job, allow your kids to do their jobs of deciding whether and how much to eat from what you’ve decided to serve. If you’ve planned a great menu, then chances are there will be a couple of different vegetables to choose from (along with a protein and a starchy vegetable or a grain). Another benefit of planning a good menu is that you’ll feel good about what your kids are eating, even if they only eat five servings of one of the items you are offering.

The three biggest factors that predict whether a child will eat their vegetables are 1) seeing adults eat and enjoy vegetables at family meals (no declarations of how delicious they taste are needed—that’s pressure, too), 2) being able to choose from at least two vegetables at a meal, and 3) having vegetables that taste good (because healthful food is only healthful if it gets into your body).

Do you have some room for improving your own vegetable eating and serving habits? My Nutrition Notes newsletter is filled with ideas for boosting your intake of vegetables and other plant foods. Please check it out for some inspiration and try my veggie-licious recipes this month. 

Be Healthy,

- Jessica