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Kids Corner

Making Your Child Eat Their Veggies. . . . A Losing Battle ?



Getting your child to like and eat vegetables and fruits can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Here are a few hints that might make it easier.

1. Don’t force your child to eat anything he doesn’t want to eat. Forcing only results in power struggles that nobody wins except a determined vegetable hater!

2. Offer positive encouragement, but do not bribe, reward, or lavish praise.

3. Teach your child how to politely turn down a food.

4. Don’t take food refusals personally.

5. Avoid “labels.” Resist making statements such as “He doesn’t like cabbage,” or “She won’t eat anything green.”

6. Serve small portions. Your child can ask for second helpings. This way your child will not feel overwhelmed, and you will not waste a lot of food.

7. Time meals and snacks so your child has an appetite when he comes to the table. Do not allow nibbling all day. Toddlers and preschoolers need regular meal and snack times spaced 2 or 3 hours apart.

8. Set a good example. Eat vegetables yourself.

9. Serve vegetables often. Try different ways of preparing them.

10. Pay attention to texture and color of cooked vegetables. Many children like them cooked “crisp-tender” not mushy. Overcooked vegetables lose their bright, attractive color.

11. Serve vegetables, whenever possible, as “finger foods.” Even cooked vegetables can be eaten this way.

12. If salad doesn’t appeal to your child, serve the salad ingredients as a vegetable/fruit tray. Also try dips.

13. Cut food into small pieces a child can manage successfully.

14. Make sure cooked vegetables are not served too hot.

15. A vegetable might seem more fun if it is served at snack time.

16. Let your child help choose and prepare vegetables. (see back page)

17. Find out what your child eats at child care, the neighbor’s or grandma’s house. A vegetable you have never considered might be a favorite. 18. Respect your child’s individuality. Some children are more cautious about trying new foods. Everyone is allowed some food dislikes. Developed