This topic is sure to be on every parent’s mind, getting your kid’s to eat (and enjoy) their vegetables. There’s nothing like a box full of farm-fresh vegetables each week to get you started. Many of our young CSA members develop an early love for beets, turnips, parsnips, and more. Here are our best tried and true ways to encourage healthy eating from the start. Have any secrets to share? Let us know in the comments below! Looking for more tips? Check out our Healthy Habits Section.
- Start Early! Pull the high chair up to the table and give your young eaters appropriate sized portions of fresh steamed or raw vegetables. Have them join the family at meal time from the very beginning.
- Make pesto. The perfect way to add healthy greens to everyone’s diet, purée them into a tasty pesto to spread on sandwiches, use as a dip, toss with pasta, etc. We have a whole tab dedicated to pesto in our recipe index. Modify the recipe if necessary – you don’t have to use cheese, and sunflower seeds can be subbed for nuts.
- Give clear choices. Instead of asking, what do you want? give 2 clear choices. Would you like carrots or tomatoes in your lunch? Would you like kale or zucchini for dinner?
- Try new foods as a family. Open your CSA Share as a family, and get excited about the new vegetables you’re going to try each week. Make food tasting a family event!
- Get kids involved in the kitchen. Kids are much more likely to try something if they had a hand in making it. Even toddlers can help scrub vegetables and use child safe knives to prep food. As children get older encourage them to join in during cooking time, or even plan and prepare a meal of their own! Make family meal time a special event. Check out our kid-friendly recipes.
- Set a good example. Babies and kids want to be like us! Children will follow your lead, so fill your plate with vegetables and spend meal time together.
- Use food as punishments/rewards. Take the pressure off at meal times, and just encourage your kids to eat some of everything until they feel full. Research shows the “clean plate club” is on the way out! Serve your children manageable portions and let them decide when they’re full.
- Write off foods. It can take 10 -12 tastes to learn to like something new. Introduce foods several times (try different preparations, shapes, or sizes). Let kids know it takes a while to like something new.
- Be a short order cook. Start the expectation early that everyone eats the same thing at the same time.