What is it about vegetables that makes many children protest at the sight of them and refuse to even take a nibble? I have a few patients who are so afraid of the color green, their aversion includes green fruits such as grapes or apples. I always wonder how much of this fear and disgust is real, and how much is due to kids trying to gain some control as their parents attempt to encourage healthy eating. But this is one battle worth fighting. The benefits are great, and if you get creative, the struggle may not be as hard as you think.
In our household, my kids’ vegetable consumption tends to wax and wane like the moon, with some weeks being better than others. Our household rule is that you either need to eat lots of different fruits or lots of different vegetables. Raw seems to go over better as well. From a child’s perspective, it seems that the more you cook something, the more it tastes like vegetables.
I would love to say that we grow our own produce, which is an excellent idea to get the kids involved and increase the chances of them eating their greens (reds and purples too), but we went the vegetable-box route with a local company. Every other week we get our veggie box and try to unpack it together so our kids can see the huge variety. Questions always arise when there’s something new. Buying from the farm has also gotten us to try new things that typically we would never think to grab at the grocery store. It can make healthy eating fun and exciting for my kids.
Many families grow their own produce. This is such a wonderful way to get the children involved and teach them about gardening. Kids may be more interested in eating the vegetables they plant themselves or see sprouting close to home. They can participate in the full growing cycle that begins with preparation of the soil and planting of the seeds and ends with the harvesting of the crops. Home gardening can also lead to conversations on the important role insects can play in our environment.
Perhaps what may be most worthwhile, gardening allows families to get outdoors and engage in an activity together, which can only help the family grow closer.