Some children love to hate vegetables much to the chagrin of their parents. This can present a challenge in meeting the daily 2 ½ cups of vegetables recommended by MyPyramid for Kids. Parents need not loose heart. “It’s important to keep offering vegetables to children,” says Dr. Sharon Robinson, a Registered Dietitian with Texas Cooperative Extension. She goes on to say that research with young children demonstrates that children may need to be offered a new food ten or twelve times before they will warm up to it.
Parents can improve the likelihood that their children will try vegetables by including children with the preparation of vegetables. For example, children can help wash vegetables or help to assemble a colorful veggie plate as a snack. Children can also help select vegetables at the store.
The most important thing a parent can do - is to model good behavior. Ensure that your child sees you enjoying vegetables often.
When it comes to knowing how much, it helps to have a visual image in mind. For example, one half of a 9-inch dinner plate should be covered with vegetables, or fruits and vegetables.
With patience and positive role modeling by parents and friends, children can grow to love vegetables.
To learn more about nutrition for children, visit My Pyramid for Kids at: http://www.mypyramid.gov/kids/index.html.
Texas Cooperative Extension offers free or low-cost classes on nutrition. Contact your local county Extension agent, Carolyn McDowell at 372-5416 to determine what is available in your area.