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Amoeba
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How do you get your children to eat their vegetables? Nestle is asking everyone to pledge to keep trying ! Anyone want to share how they get their kids to eat veggies and pledge to keep trying? Thanks!

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I guess, I started when they were first eating solid foods. My mom told me that people make the mistake of giving their babies sweet fruits before introducing the flavor of vegetables.

My children's first solid was poi (Hawaiian taro) and then rice cereal. Then, we introduced blended vegetables like carrots, green beans, peas, squash, sweet potatoes. We didn't give the applesauce until they were well into the vegetables. We gave the sweet carrots before the squash though and when the kids tasted the squash, they shuddered!

Then, as they grew, we just served a lot of vegetables. We love them ourselves so the kids just thought it was what people ate. Once in a while, one of them would turn their noses at something. We didn't force it. We said, "More for us!" And made it desirable.

Kids' tastes change. If you don't fret, they'll eventually come around. My son didn't like cabbage but now loves it. My husband dislikes zucchini, but I adore it and my kids love it, too.

There is a book out that tells how to steam and puree vegetables and put them into meatloaf and sauces, etc.

I would stir-fry broccoli with a bit of teriyaki sauce. Ok, so there's sodium and sugar in it, but my kids would gobble it up! You can stir fry a lot of different veggies--broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery--with a bit of teriyaki sauce and serve over rice or noodles for a great vegetarian dish.

The kids also loved to dip everything so I'd make vegetable sticks and serve with several dippers: Ranch dressing, marinara sauce, hummus, cheese dip.

Show them how to eat artichokes. They're fun to eat. If they're really little, they can pretend to be vegetable-eating animals. Dinosaurs? We watched a nature show about hippos and then tried to get our mouths to open wide and chew like hippos. Not great table manners at the time, but it was fun and they didn't realize that they were chewing green salad! My daughter became a carrot nut when she fell in love with bunnies and tried to eat like one, taking tiny nibbles.

I also showed them how put some mashed potatoes on a fork and then press it into a pile of peas to get them to stick. It was a hoot!

Also, if you put anything on a pizza, kids tend to eat it! They used to think all pizzas came with green peppers and mushrooms.

About table manners: I explained to them that there was a time for good table manners and a time when I would let them play (at lunchtime at home usually.) Their father didn't think it was a good idea to play at the table!

But they did eat their vegetables! And their table manners weren't so bad either! smile

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Amoeba
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You should be proud of yourself for introducing good eating habits at such a young age. The Start Healthy, Stay Healthy pledge is a place for parents to pledge to raise healthy and happy childre.

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Um, I wouldn't be so quick to commend me! Although they love vegetables and other healthful foods, they also like the not-so-good stuff. We love all foods. They unfortunately love fried foods like fried chicken and chips. And baked goods.

We're all moving away from the unhealthful things now that they are older and know better and it is easier because they do love vegetables! We just try to stick to the good stuff now. smile


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Amoeba
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On the Start Healthy Stay Healthy website they talk about a balance between good and bad food it sounds like your family has worked out a great balance!

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We simply didn't introduce the bad stuff. I don't think parents give their kids food with the realization that they're building lifelong habits. The kids like it, seems harmless enough, next thing you know--that's all they eat. We just didn't start it.

Our son had food intolerances so it was easy for us NOT to just do what was easy and make some mac and cheese or chicken nuggets. He gets some [censored], too... potato chips, meringues, etc. But if he eats these things more than twice a week--it's a lot. He's 5yo.

I should add that he's an INCREDIBLY fussy eater (especially when it comes to certain textures). Frankly, I don't care what he eats in the house because it's all relatively healthy food. We just don't have enough junk here for him.

We're also foster parents and regularly get older kids with very set, unhealthy eating habits. This is the food we have. This is the food available to you to eat. Period. When they get hungry, they eat. We certainly do our best to make it appetizing, but at the end of the day chinese cabbage doesn't taste like mac-n-cheese or Mickey D's. But that's what we have. And actually, the kids have gone home liking some very strange things--including one that couldn't get enough of kale.

I hate the whole "my kids won't eat that". Really? 1) you haven't tried; 2) try OTHER healthy stuff then; and 3) REMOVE THE JUNK!


Heather DeGeorge
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When my kids were still eating baby food I always mixed a meat, a veggie and a fruit together and fed it all at once, sort of like a pureed stew. They were not crazy about the green veggies at that point, but with the touch of sweet that the fruit gave the entire dish, they ate it all.

Once they were on table food I just gave them some of what we were eating and they ate it. Fortunately, they were all (4 of them) big eaters and it wasn't hard to get them to eat. If they didn't like a particular food (with 4 of them there is always one that doesn't like what you serve on any given day) I didn't force it, there was always peanut butter, LOL. I also didn't force them to finish everything. They ate till they were full and that was fine. Meal times were pleasant for all of us and I wanted it that way. Today they are all healthy adults and none are overweight or picky eaters.

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I NEVER liked veggies when I was a child blush
I eat quite a few of them now. Funny thing, my kids like most veggies, even brussel sprouts which I still can not eat to this day.


Dianne Walker

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Dianne it is great that your kids like most veggies - there is a video from Start Healthy Stay Healthy that reveals that the number one veggie eaten by toddlers in the US is a French fry. I couldn't believe it but sounds like it is not something you and your family have to worry about.

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Flat out bribery. My child is 6 so you can hear things like "I'll give you a dollar!" "Eat all your green beans and we can have ice cream!" "eat them all and you can watch an exra half hour of TV." whatever works! My son HATES vegetables - except raw carrots and corn. I'm not a big fan either so its hard for me to force him, but bribery usually works. I know its not the beest solution but at least he is eathing something green!


Sarah Salas
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Amoeba
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I have just recently read that parents need to be role models and eat what they want their children to eat and another good advice would be to make those foods desirable just like Lori did.

Do not force them to eat but let them help you in the kitchen, that way they will be more eager to try the foods they helped you make.

I still blend for my 15 months old and he eats everything so far.

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MoniB your post reminds me of the Actions Speak Louder Than Words video which shows how kids really do mimic their parents behavior. Sounds like you are doing a great job!

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I am a vegetarian so I always find this topic interesting. My son is 2 and so far also a vegetarian. He loves most vegetables, he will eat anything that comes with rice (in rissotto/paella like dishes) or omelette. I also mix some veggies with his spaguetti sauce. He loves to see me cook, he knows a lot of words for vegetables and fruits and he really loves to see broccoli on his plate because he thinks it is a tree. He doesn't eat any raw veggie though.

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Amoeba
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We eat mostly vegetables here, and almost no processed foods. I can't imagine bribing them, tricking them or bullying them into it and I don't understand why it's such a big deal, really. Vegetables are good. We have a big garden and buy local as much as possible.

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