Recommendation - Nutrition Week 16th-23rd October
This week is Nutrition Week, so I thought I would share some of the resources I have found around getting more Fruit and Veg into our children and some great recipes.
VEG EDUCATE THE KIDS
I think we can all agree on the importance of teaching our children where food comes from, it doesn't just magically appear on the shelves of your local supermarket. Starting a veggie garden with them can be a fantastic way to learn about vegetables and honestly children are often more likely to try something that they have watched grow and been a part of keeping that fruit or veggie alive. It could be as simple as some windowsill herbs or go all out and build a full garden bed. I am a terrible gardener so I normally go quite small. My daughter Payton likes the idea of having a veggie garden but like her mother loses interest quickly. At the moment she just has mint growing, which is working because she loves putting mint in her water or just eating it straight of the plant and its somewhat forgiving if she forgets to water it. Here are some other simple tips to encourage your child's veggie intake.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Kids love to watch us and food choices are often learnt from parents and carers behaviours. Eating vegetables at family mealtimes is a great way to encourage your child to eat veggies too.
KEEP TRYING WITH VEGETABLES
Some kids may need to be exposed to a certain vegetable 10 times before they decide to try it, and another 10 times before they like it! If at first your child says no, keep offering that vegetable at different meal times – eventually your child may change their mind. I totally understand how frustrating this can be especially if money is tight it can seem so wasteful. I would recommend doing this with vegetables that you can reuse in something else if they don't get eaten by the children.
GET YOUR CHILD INVOLVED IN COOKING VEGETABLES
Kids who help prepare their veggies are more likely to eat them. Try to include your child in the cooking process. Perhaps let them choose the veggies for a stir fry, put chopped veggies in the steamer, or wash salad leaves.
OFFER VEGETABLES AS SNACKS
Keep some veggie snacks on hand for when your kids are hungry. The more meals that include veggies, the more your child will try them. Try veggie sticks with dip or a bowl of cherry tomatoes on the bench. I have always added veggies to my girls lunchboxes, carrot sticks, cucumbers either in sticks or just circles, capsicum, cherry tomatoes, sometimes i'll add their favourite dip. "Do they always eat them?" Nope, not all the time but most the time they are fine to send back to school the following day.
GO FOR VEGETABLE VARIETY, TASTE AND FUN
Try to cover a range of veggies – the more variety the better than chances of your child finding veggies they like. Go for veggie-topped pizzas, stir fry or a platter of colourful veggies as a snack.
GET VEGETABLES INTO MEALS IN OTHER WAYS
Making the veggie the hero is important for your child to become familiar with the shapes and textures of veggies. However, if your child is especially fussy, try incorporating vegetables into dishes they already like, such as grating carrot and zucchini into pasta sauce, or pureeing veg into soup. (Goodluck with the last one, I've never been able to get my girls to eat soup haha)
MORE RESOURCES AND RECIPES
Sanitarium have a fantastic website full of different ways to get children involved in meal planning, preparing and cooking. They also share a great resource called 12 Before 12 this includes some great child friendly recipes to increase our veggie intake. Click here to go to their website, or here for the direct link to the 12 Before 12 Cookbook.