We all know that fruits and vegetables are extremely healthy and that we are supposed to include them in our diet. But do you know why?
According to the Mayo Clinic, fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber, and their consumption is recommended as key to a healthy diet. But not just any fruits and veggies, but rather to consume a wide variety of produce.
What’s the science behind this? Fruits and vegetables are the main source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. In fact, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of heart diseases which also includes preventing high blood pressure.
They also lower the risk of getting any type of diabetes and generally speaking: they boost your gastrointestinal health and they help your immune system stay strong and resilient to viruses, diseases and conditions of many kinds. Isn’t this enough of a reason?
How much fruits and vegetables should you eat? According to the American Dietetic Association, fruit and vegetable intake should account for at least half of the daily recommended intake of calories. If you thought that eating one apple a day keeps the doctor away, you need to realize that more research has been done after this saying was invented.
Now, it’s recommended to eat at least 5 portions of veggies and fruits on a daily basis and this recommendation came straight from the World Health Organization.
As you can see, there are multiple reasons to start including as much fresh produce as possible in your diet. But the biggest problem is, many people simply don’t like to eat vegetables and fruits or they do like some of them, but they are simply not used to having them in their diets.
This is why being informed about all the fantastic health benefits of eating enough fresh produce is extremely important. But as adults, we are able to comprehend the importance and the meaning of intaking certain ingredients on a daily basis (and some of us are still not doing it enough). On the other hand, what about kids?
Kids seem to dislike eating veggies, and even some fruits, and telling them how healthy they are is not really going to do the trick. They’ll probably continue refusing to eat them. This is why many parents face challenges when motivating their kids to eat vegetables.
As a matter of fact, one of the most Googled questions is the question whether children naturally dislike veggies. It is so common that people think children are born with an aversion to veggies.
However, although it might become a challenge, encouraging your child to eat more vegetables and fruits is essential for their health because it would give them vitamins, energy and healthy fibers.
If your child or children refuse to eat fruits and veggies no matter what you do, and you have no idea where to start, there are some tips and tricks you can use in order to succeed in your mission.
The first thing you can do is provide them with healthy snacks. What that means is simply stop having anything else in your house! Say goodbye to chips or sugar in any form. If there is no alternative (a more tempting and unhealthier one) they will have to eat fruits and vegetables, eventually. If you give them chocolate and carrots, of course they will choose chocolate!
If you were Googling a fruit and veg shop near me when you went grocery shopping, and you weren’t happy with the results, there are fresh fruits and veggies you can find here. Plan out the whole week ahead and buy different types of fruits and vegetables that would also look colorful and interesting on the plate.
Arranging food to be visually appealing can also be a good strategy when it comes to your kids and their habits.
But the point of providing them with veggie and fruity snacks is not to torture them, so don’t make this into a must – rather into a fantastic, colorful, healthy and tasty option they have.
When it comes to the taste, if they don’t like it, you can always disguise the taste of veggies by mixing them with peanut butter, hummus or anything else that is tasty and that your kids usually love.
In the majority of cases, they will like dipping apples or carrots in before mentioned sauces. Both healthy and fun! There’s a variety of sauces on the market, if you don’t have enough time to experiment and create your own recipes.
Other than that, you can use some sneaky tricks such as adding as much fruits and veggies into your everyday meals; or finding new ways and new dishes you can make to achieve your goal of making them eat healthier. How would they know what you put in their soup or casseroles?
You can also bake veggies such as zucchini and potatoes, and with the right seasoning, they’ll love it! Being creative and inventing interesting and tasty dishes is what can help kids to start liking even the fruits and vegetables they didn’t like before.
Don’t give up, be patient and pay attention to your attitude. This is a factor that many people usually underestimate. Your attitude towards fruits and vegetables is crucial when it comes to your kids and their attitude about the same matter.
If you personally don’t like fresh produce and if you don’t eat fruits and veggies, it’s going to be much harder to teach your kids to do it. Showing them what’s the right thing for them rather than telling them about it, is a much better and more effective way of raising your kids.
So always start with your own example and remember to never give up and to exceed your or patience boundaries and limitations (no matter how hard it seems).
Once they start developing healthy habits you will be more than happy with what you achieved despite the frustration during the process.
Finally, if that’s an option, start gardening! Kids learn through play, so spending quality time together and working together on a gardening routine is what can help them understand the importance and the fantastic benefits of eating healthy foods.
Not only that, but being surrounded by veggies and fruits will encourage children to get an apple instead of a bag of chips, if they feel like snacking. Also, there’s a psychological aspect to it: watching something grow and being excited once it can be picked and eaten!