How to Get Older Kids to Love Vegetables
When your children become older the eating habits that they established early on in their lives continue to grow stronger. What that means is that by the time your child is a teenager, his or her attitudes towards food are pretty well set. This is at least partly because this is not an age when most children are thinking about food.
Instead their minds are on the busy and active stages of development that occur as they move into young adulthood. The good news is that this doesn't mean its impossible to convince your teen to eat more vegetables. The bad news is that it certainly isn't going to be a priority.
Vegetables in Abundance
One thing that you can do to convince children and teens to eat their vegetables is to provide them with a wide variety of easy access vegetables. Make sure that snacks comprised of vegetables are always available in your home and refrain from buying junk food treats when you can. If your teen is missing them, let them earn the money and buy them out of pocket.
At the same time, don't cut out fun foods entirely-you don't want to turn them into forbidden fruit either. Regular, well planned family meal times with vegetable offerings are another good way to introduce the question of vegetables to older children and teens. Once again, when the food is available, your teen is much more likely to eat it.
Though your teen may not be too interested in his or her diet right now, they are interested in things like looking and feeling good. One way to convince your child to eat more vegetables then, is to talk to him or her about the subject. Remind your teen what happens to people who do not receive proper nutrients . . . scurvy, for example. Make it clear that you are not trying to threaten them into eating, but trying to help them prepare healthy minds and bodies for the rest of their life.
Teens are just discovering how strong some of their opinions are and the discussion of vegetables at dinner may offer an interesting forum for insights from both of you. Healthy eating habits aside, you might enjoy having a relatively neutral topic to spar over.
Resistance is Futile
At the end of the day, remember that your efforts have not been in vain and make some zucchini bread. Though the discussion of vegetables may be ongoing, you can slip a few extras into your child's diet by packaging them attractively. No need to lie about it either. Your child is old enough to know that when it's called by a vegetable name, but it tastes like dessert, then they've just won the culinary jackpot.
There are numerous recipes available for healthy, vitamin packed quick breads and muffins. You can even find options for breakfast cookies. Getting someone to eat vegetables is all in the approach. Don't let them off the hook on more standard serving options, but don't hesitate to reward them with a little treat either.
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