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  • Writer's pictureTracy Davies

Conquering the Dinner Table: How to Get Your Picky Eater to Embrace Veggies

Do you find yourself locked in a nightly battle with your child over vegetables? I'm here to let you know you're not alone!

Many parents struggle with picky eaters who turn their noses up at anything green or nutritious. However, fear not! With a bit of patience, creativity, and persistence, you can transform your child's relationship with veggies and make mealtime a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Understanding Picky Eating

Before diving into strategies, it's crucial to understand why some children are picky eaters. Picky eating can stem from various factors, including genetics, sensory sensitivities, or simply a dislike for certain tastes or textures. Understanding your child's preferences and triggers can help you tailor your approach to encourage healthier eating habits.

Lead by Example

Children are more likely to try new foods if they see their parents enjoying them. Be a role model by incorporating a variety of vegetables into your own meals and expressing enthusiasm for healthy eating. Let your child see you savouring that crisp salad or enjoying roasted veggies alongside your main course.

Get Them Involved

Involve your child in meal preparation from start to finish. Take them grocery shopping and let them choose a vegetable they'd like to try. Once home, include them in washing, chopping, and cooking the veggies. This hands-on approach can pique their interest and make them more willing to taste the final product.

Make it Fun

Presentation matters, especially when it comes to appealing to young taste buds. Get creative with how you serve vegetables. Try arranging them into fun shapes or using colourful plates and utensils. Consider turning veggies into playful characters or incorporating them into themed meals. The more engaging and visually appealing the dish, the more likely your child will be willing to give it a try.

Add Them In

If your child is particularly resistant to veggies, consider adding them into other dishes. Puree vegetables and add them to sauces, soups, or smoothies. Grate carrots or zucchini into baked goods like muffins or pancakes. Give your child control over how much to initially add in (teaspoon or tablespoon). This approach can help build confidence and show your child that veggies can be added to foods they enjoy without changing the taste or texture of the food, helping to ensure your child gets essential nutrients while you work on expanding their palate.

Offer Choices

Empower your child by offering them choices when it comes to mealtime. Instead of dictating which vegetables they must eat, provide them with options. Let them choose between broccoli or carrots, or ask if they'd prefer their veggies raw or cooked. Giving them a sense of control can make them more willing to try new foods.

Be Patient and Persistent

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are healthy eating habits. Be patient with your child and avoid pressuring or bribing them to eat their veggies. Encourage but don't force them, and celebrate small victories along the way. It may take time for your child to develop a taste for vegetables, so stay consistent and continue to offer them regularly.

Convincing a picky eater to embrace vegetables can feel like an uphill battle, but with the right approach, it's possible to turn mealtime struggles into successes. By leading by example, getting your child involved, making veggies fun, and being patient and persistent, you can help your child develop a lifelong appreciation for nutritious foods. Remember, every small step towards healthier eating is a step in the right direction.

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