It’s not easy convincing children to eat healthy, natural foods – especially vegetables. Luckily, we’re now in spring, the season of new beginnings! Now is a great time to start getting your little ones interested in colorful, nutritious vegetables.
First, let’s start by rephrasing that last sentence for the kiddos. It’s a great time to find gold at the end of the vegetable rainbow, crossing a wide variety of vibrant foods – rosy radishes, red tomatoes, orange carrots, yellow squash, green kale, purple eggplants and white cauliflower, for example. Who doesn’t love rainbows?
- If you’re in need of some tips for scoring more dietary “gold” in your child’s diet through vegetables, we’ve got you covered. Offer a variety of fresh vegetables in modest ways throughout the day, like in salads, soups and smoothies, or with yogurt, ranch dressing and other dips. Try making it a game to see who can eat a rainbow of vegetables first, and put positive energy behind the trial of new, healthy foods.
- When you’re eating out together, order extra vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli or asparagus on the side. You might add extra lettuce and/or tomato to your sandwich or burger, or ask for lettuce wraps instead of buns. You might even kick off the meal with a side salad, or ask for hummus with cucumbers or carrots as an appetizer. If your child associates vegetables with desirability when you’re eating out, he/she is more likely to drop their guard and try new foods.
- During the weekend, visit a local farmers’ market with the family to purchase farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. Make this a special occasion! If you’re interested in finding your local farmers’ market, you can easily access more information in local publications or online through a search platform. Most community farmers’ markets take place in church or school parking lots. If you’re in Houston, we have plenty of options including the Rice University Farmers’ Market, which is open every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, register with a local farm share program for access to fresh, local-grown vegetable packages every week. If you’re in Houston, check out Plant it Forward Farms.
- Get your children to help you plant a home garden when they’re not at school. No green thumb required! It just takes a bit of research. You’ll find many herbs and vegetables that grow well in Houston’s climate, so start small with some of your favorite herbs, like rosemary, spearmint, cilantro or parsley. Next, move up to a few easy-to-grow vegetables, such as lettuce greens, carrots, cucumbers or green beans. It’s rewarding to grow and eat your own food, and your children might think so, too!