Kids and food – it’s a constant problem! You want them to eat healthy meals, but all they are interested in is chips and takeaways! The problem isn’t just with the kids, though: how often do you get home from a long day at work, and call in a pizza because you don’t have the enthusiasm to prepare and cook a meal? Or, you simply put a ready meal in the microwave. We’re all guilty of it, and it’s not a crime, but it doesn’t help with the biggest problem of all – getting kids to actually eat vegetables!
The thing is, most vegetables are actually very tasty, but kids don’t believe you. In fact, they probably don’t believe that chips are potatoes! So, what can you do to get your kids to eat vegetables? Let’s have a look!
1: Try New Things
If you are stuck in rut with your cooking – and let’s face it, most of us resort to the same few dishes again and again – why not try something new? Get those recipe books out and find new, interesting vegetable dishes – and don’t tell the kids what they are about to eat! Get them to try it, and you may find it’s met with approval. There are plenty of Mediterranean dishes, for example, that are vegetable-based, healthy and very tasty, so you could start looking in Italian recipe books for simple and great ideas.
2: Get the Kids Involved
Why not encourage the children to get involved in the kitchen? You can teach them how to prepare food, and educate them as to why we need to eat healthily and well. Here’s a tip: you can get them to make their own pizza! Offer them a selection of healthy toppings, bake your own pizza bases, and get them to choose their own. It’s a great fun way of giving them an idea of what cooking is all about, and about why they need the healthy food.
3: Grow Your Own
This is a great way of getting kids to understand what it’s all about: set aside a section of the garden as a vegetable plot, and the kids can plant their own and tend to them as they grow. They will be more keen to eat food they have grown themselves, as they will be pleased with their efforts. Most vegetables are very easy to grow: you can even grow potatoes in a bin liner filled with soil if you don’t have space! Check out your local garden centre for advice on the best veg for the kids to grow – it is a great fun way of getting them involved.
4: Cook Healthy Chips!
The problem with chips is not the potato, but the oil. Chips are traditionally deep-fried, which is not a healthy way of cooking. However, there are healthy ways to cook chips: you could try reading up on air frying tips, for example, a very healthy way of getting beautifully crispy and delicious chips that are practically free of oil. You might even want to try chips made from other vegetables – zucchini chips are becoming very popular indeed – and give you and the kids some different flavours. Children love chips, so what better than a healthy version?
5: Side Salads
One way of getting kids to eat more vegetables is to offer up a side-salad with meals. This is an attractive way of presenting a variety of veg, so they can pick and choose the ones they want. It may take some time to convince them, but once they get into the habit, they will pick their vegetables carefully and without any drama.
6: Don’t Force Them
Our final tip is an important one: you cannot force a child to eat what you want them to, but you can encourage them. If your kids feel they are being unduly pressured, they will do all they can not to comply with your wishes – that’s kids, it’s what they do! Encourage them by having a sit-down meal, by talking to them, by involving them, but ultimately, give them the choice. If you make sure the alternative is not unhealthy, then you have a win-win situation.
The simple fact is that children are stubborn, so perhaps the best way forward is to use an oil free air fryer for cooked vegetables, to get the kids to grow their own – they will be amazed when they plant one potato and, in a few months, they dig up a dozen or more – and to engage them in the preparation and cooking of meals. Rest assured, the kids will eventually realise that, in fact, vegetables can be delicious, and they will do so best if you get them to make their own meals, such as the pizza we described earlier.