How to encourage children to eat vegetables

December 19, 2020

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What if I told you my kids CRAVE vegetables and fruits?  What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Today’s post I’m going to cover an issue that so many parents face: how to encourage child to eat vegetables.

how to get fussy eaters to eat vegetables

Sugar Crash

But first, let me tell you a little story. When my daughter Sadie was 2 years old, we went to a park near our house. As we were playing at the park, we started to hear the familiar sound of the jingle playing from the ice cream truck. As the ice cream truck pulled up, all the kids naturally started asking their moms and dads if they could have ice cream or candy. At this point, I had never given Sadie any candy or popsicle sticks, particularly the ones full of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Well, at that moment I caved and said, “ok I’ll buy you one to share with your little brother.”

As they were unwrapping the popsicle wrapper I couldn’t help but think if it was a good idea giving them something so sugary at an early age. Well, I got my answer about an hour later. After the kids finished playing at the park, they fell asleep shortly after and napped in the car. But the moment they woke up as we got back to our house, all hell broke loose. They started crying and screaming for no reason; throwing tantrums like we’ve never seen before. It was like we were literally watching addicts going through withdrawal. It was a small decision that I made in a snap, but it had a profound effect on me. For the first time ever, I saw the real repercussions of sugar and how it directly impacted their behavior; first, the sugar high, then the crash, and then came the tantrums. From that day on, I vowed never to let it happen again. 

Side Effects of Sugar

Now back to today. Today, as hard as it can be sometimes, I try to feed my kids nothing but whole foods. As a parent, I know how hard it is to feed the kids, especially when it’s difficult to know what to even feed ourselves. But when you start to make the correlation between what you feed your children and how they will behave or learn at school, I’m sure you’ll want to start making changes to their diet. Trust me, I know how convenient it is to go to Costco and buy a box of goldfish, chips, and fruit gummy snacks. Or go to a fast-food restaurant for a quick and easy meal, because why not?

But I’m here to tell you, the instant gratification is not worth it. Because the truth of it all is that we are what we eat. And filling our kids up with processed foods with little to no nutritional fiber, will not only make them addicted to these types of foods in the long run, but will also lead to blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes because these foods are full of saturated fats, added sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavors. It sounds scary, but it’s true. 

ways to encourage healthy eating

Tips on Healthy Eating

Now you may be thinking, I get it, processed foods are bad. But my kids don’t like fruits and vegetables! But my answer to that would be, it’s never too late! But, the earlier you start, the easier it is in the long run. Now, how to encourage child to eat vegetables? Well, getting your kids to develop a relationship with healthy food starts with you. After I made the choice to give them mostly wholefoods, I saw the difference it made on my kids. I’m not going to lie, but in the beginning, it wasn’t easy weaning them off their snacks (chips, M&Ms, goldfish, cookies).  But me and Doug held our ground and redefined the meaning of “snack” (apples, carrots, vegetable/fruit smoothies).  Immediately I noticed they threw way fewer tantrums when they eat healthy food. 

They eat what we give them which includes; vegetables, meat, bone broth, nuts, and hardly any junk food (only for special occasions and in and out french fries). We try our best to make eating a fun experience for them; we involve them in our cooking process and expose them to a lot of different kinds of foods so that nothing is “weird” to them. As parents, we try to teach them to have an open mind and allow them to form their own opinions, but at the same time, appreciate the food that was made for them. Because as much as we can let them make up their mind on what they like and don’t like, we make it known that we don’t cater to them. If they don’t like the dinner that was made for them, then they can simply go to bed hungry 🙂 

ways to encourage healthy eating

Lifestyle Change

As extreme as it sounds, this is our philosophy when it comes to raising our kids. Of course, there will be days where they want to eat chicken nuggets instead of roast chicken. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! We’re only human! Don’t stress about the occasional fast food or sweet treat, as long as we’re making a conscious effort to steer them in a healthy direction, it will pay off more in the long run than appeasing them with whatever they want now. Because they’re kids, they’ll love junk food. Who doesn’t? I love junk food.

But I do believe that you are what you eat. What kids eat affects their energy levels, behavior, development, and eventually their food choices and long-term health. If you think of your body as a home that you’ll live in for the rest of your life, it all starts with having a strong foundation. Health ties into everything that we are; how our brain and organs function, our behavior, and the way we think. 

Changing your diet to whole foods may lead to….

  1. Boost your immunity system 
  2. Healing powers 
  3. Improve brain function
  4. Helps with digestion 
  5. Boost energy and build strength
  6. Increased longevity 
  7. Improved mood
  8. Prevents insomnia 
  9. Better behavior and focus
  10. Limits stress and anxiety

Start the change now. It’s never too late. It won’t be an overnight change.

But it will get better day by day! I’m always here for support! 

How to encourage child to eat vegetables in an easy way:

  1. Swap out processed foods with healthy alternatives –  Instead of chips, try savory nuts or veggie sticks. Instead of fruit snacks, try real fruit! 
  2. Start cooking more whole foods at home Shop smarter! Before you head to the grocery store, eat and make a list. That way, you’re less tempted to buy foods that you’re craving and more likely to stick to your list.
  3. Give yourself some grace We’re only human, we’ll want the occasional fast food meal. But trust me, once you go on a clean diet, your body will start rejecting the fast food you thought you wanted. And that’s what we hope for!

I’ll have a post about some of my kid’s healthier snack options, remember to subscribe!

Stay healthy and happy everyone! 





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