Did you know that nearly half of all children fail to eat a single vegetable on a daily basis? Furthermore, one in three children do not consume fruit every day. This is a real problem in terms of long-term health and embracing a well-balanced diet should never be taken lightly. Let’s take a quick look at eight strategies which can help your little one obtain the vitamins and nutrients required at an early age.
1. – Embrace the Versatility of Veggies
Vegetables are extremely flexible in terms of how they can be prepared. So, try and include at least one serving into each meal. The chances are high that your child will never know the difference!
2. – Use Positive Reinforcement
Children will always respond to a job well done. So, offer rewards once all fruits and vegetables are consumed. Examples can include extra television time, playing a favourite game or a trip to the local park. Parents can also use cutting-edge EYFS assessment software in order to monitor and record the types of foods consumed; a great way to create a well-balanced diet.
3. – A Bit of Experimentation
There will always be certain vegetables that a child simply refuses to eat (such as Brussels sprouts or lima beans). The key here is to discover foods that appeal to their unique palate. While this might take some time, the long-term rewards are worth the initial effort!
4. – Judging a Book by Its Cover
Appearance goes a long way towards appeal. So, be sure to present fruits and vegetables in a visually attractive manner. Create patterns or even different colour palettes. This will help to stimulate interest; especially at a younger age.
5. – A Hands-on Experience
Children are naturally curious and this is just as true in terms of fruits and vegetables. Create a hands-on experience through the use of healthy dips such as hummus or fruit salsa.
6. – Participate in the Preparation
Another worthwhile suggestion is to allow your child to participate in a bit of meal prep. From choosing ripe fruits to selecting what types of vegetables should be included within a casserole, interaction will help to further stimulate interest.
7. – Explain the Benefits
Children can appreciate positive outcomes even at a very young age. So, take some time to explain exactly why fruits and vegetables are so important as they grow. This is also a great opportunity to address any questions that they might have.
8. – Snack Time
Implementing fruits and vegetables as tasty snacks is a final strategy that can work wonders. Items such as sliced apples, carrot sticks and cucumbers are easy to prepare and they are excellent finger foods when eaten between meals.
Each of the suggestions outlined above are all potent ways to introduce your child to new food and to encourage a healthy and balanced diet. When we consider the sheer amount of processed and sugary foods that children regularly consume, it is clear to understand why fruits and vegetables have become so vital in these modern times