I’ve mentioned it before, but my toddler son has pulled a Jeckyll and Hyde on me recently. He used to eat all of his veggies and fruits with a smile. Now, tasting what he used to love either involves tears or some feedings to the dog on the sly.
With the new visual cue from the USDA that we’re supposed have half our plate full of veggies and fruit, what’s a parent to do?
Concerned that I was somehow raising a malnourished kiddo (though, if you look at him, you wouldn’t jump to this conclusion), I asked the pediatrician. I’m told I should relax. He’s growing fine, apparently.
For frustrated parents, the pediatrician suggests that we all just keep offering the right kinds of foods. Mothers apparently have the urge to feed our kids no matter what, and I’m told this is an urge to fight. So, even though your kid devours Boca chik’n patties, cupfuls of cottage cheese or handfuls of scrambled, these should not constitute his every meal. Variety is best.
Also, do not let your kiddo walk around with a sippy cup full of milk or juice. They can fill up easily on these drinks, leaving little room for the healthy food you want them to eat at meal time.
If your child throws the food – ahem – then, meal time is immediately over. That urge I mentioned before? This is where it’s hardest to fight, but the good ol’ pediatrician said it’s very important that your child learns that throwing food is not good and that if they are hungry they need to eat what is offered to them. They learn quick enough.
Want more suggestions? The CNN senior medical producer, Elizabeth Cohen, compiled a list of 10 suggestions to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some are better than others.
Here they are: 1.
Get them while they’re hungry.
2. Institute the “no thank you bite” rule. – We try this one from time to time, and our son will humor us from time to time … before spitting out the offending fruit slice.
3. Make up cute names.
4. Shop with your kids. – When our son is older, I plan on doing this one as well as the next.
5. Cook with your kids.
6. Have a “veggie night.” – Every night is veggie night at our house. It’s also “shake your head ‘no’ night.”.
7. Hide the veggies. – I know this one can get a little controversial – after all, you want your kid to know what broccoli looks like, right? But, I admit, I’ve fed my son zucchini while it was hidden in some tasty bread. So sue me.
8. Make fruits and vegetables the easy option.
9. Let them use fun gadgets. – So far, pressing the blender button is one of the highlights of my son’s young life. Maybe he can just drink his veggies through childhood.
10. Bribe with dessert.